Edward Carpenter

Edward Carpenter (1844-1929) was one of the foremost Pagan and gay writers of the early 20th century.  He lived with his lover, George Merrill, for thirty years, and their relationship inspired the novel Maurice by EM Forster.




In the sixty years silence which followed the Oscar Wilde trials, gay men all across the country secretly obtained copies of Carpenter’s works. For them, his words were like those of a saviour, giving them a huge feeling of calm in a world where their very lives were often at risk due to their sexuality. As time moved on, his followers remained a select few. One of the few was Harry Hay. He was so inspired by the work of Carpenter and his prophecy of the coming together of homosexuals to fight for their rights that he decided to put the words into action. His formation of the Mattachine Society started the gay rights ball rolling in America. Here in the UK, Carpenter’s words were endlessly quoted by gay rights activists as they sought to change the world and make it a fairer place for gay men and women. -- Fyne Times