This article analyses the theory of sexuality, personality and politics developed by the literary critic John Addington Symonds (1840-93). Sections one and two introduce Symonds’ changing reputation as a modernist theorist of ‘sexual inversion’ (homosexuality). Section three examines his conceptualisation of the processes whereby an individual can sublimate sexual urges to create a harmonious and unalienated personality which acknowledges the need to combine transgressive self-expression with social convention. Section four demonstrates how this theory led Symonds to endorse an eroticised form of democratic socialism, while section five explores the culmination of Symonds’ thought in a form of pantheistic idealism. This research is significant in that it extends our understanding of socialism and sexuality into areas that are marginalised and yet historically important.
Tyler, C. (2017). J. A. Symonds, socialism and the crisis of sexuality in fin-de-siècle Britain. History of European ideas, 43(8), 1002-1015. https://doi.org/10.1080/01916599.2017.1284141