Studies in the Psychology of Sex

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Date: 1897 - 1899

Region: Europe

Subject: Sexual/Gender Orientation Explicit Sexuality

Medium: Literature


Ellis.jpg

Artist: Havelock Ellis (1859 - 1939)

Confronting Bodies: British law enforcement and the family of John Addington Symonds

Dates of Action: 1897-1899

Location: England

Description of Artwork: Ellis, a British sexologist, wrote the seven-volume Studies in the Psychology of Sex. One of the volumes, called Sexual Inversion, addressed homosexuality.

The Incident: In 1892 the British writer and literary critic John Addington Symonds asked Ellis to dedicate one of the volumes of his study to homosexuality. Ellis agreed, and the publisher, Watford University Press, published the volume Sexual Inversion. After Symonds's death in 1895 his family bought the entire first printing of Sexual Inversion and had it destroyed. Watford University Press was targeted by police who sought to prevent the "flooding of the country with books of the 'psychology type' by free love anarchists." The book's editor, George Bedborough, was arrested and prosecuted for selling "a certain lewd wicked bawdy scandalous and obscene libel in the form of a book entitled Studies in the Psychology of Sex.

Results of Incident: The other volumes of Ellis's study were published internationally. None were ever successfully published in Britain.

Source: Censorship, A World Encyclopedia, ed. D. Jones