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Havelock Ellis (Henry Havelock Ellis) Biography

(1859–1939), (Henry Havelock Ellis), Kanga Creek, Sexual Inversion, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Affirmations

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Dutchman to Paul Engle Biography

British writer, born in Croydon, Surrey. His early travels to Australia were reflected in his novel Kanga Creek (1922). He later trained as a physician at St Thomas's Hospital, London. During this time he contributed to journals and edited the unexpurgated Mermaid Series of Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatists as well as the Contemporary Science Series. He was an energetic campaigner for a more liberal and open view of sex, and against censorship. A close friend of Olive Schreiner, he was also associated with other progressive thinkers in the field of sexuality, including Edward Carpenter, Arthur Symons, the ‘decadent’ poet, and Margaret Sanger, the advocate of birth control. Among his many works on human sexual behaviour were Sexual Inversion (1897; with J. A. Symonds), which concerns homosexuality, and was to have formed part of Studies in the Psychology of Sex (18971928; 7 volumes), which was published in America, and until 1935, due to censorship, available in Britain only to members of the medical profession. The work was surreptitiously imported in large numbers, and gained Ellis many followers. Other works include Affirmations (1898, literary essays) and an autobiography, My Life (1939). A modern biography by P. Grosskurth appeared in 1980.

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