Edward Carpenter.

The intermediate sex; a study of some transitional types of men and women online

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position and breeding are drawn to rougher types, as of manual workers,
and frequently very permanent alliances grow up in this way, which
although not publicly acknowledged have a decided influence on social
institutions, customs and political tendencies - and which would have a
good deal more influence could they be given a little more scope and
recognition. There are cases that I have known (although the ordinary
commercial world might hardly believe it) of employers who have managed
to attach their workmen, or many of them, very personally to themselves,
and whose object in running their businesses was at least as much to
provide their employees with a living as themselves; while the latter,
feeling this, have responded with their best output. It is possible that
something like the guilds and fraternities of the middle ages might thus
be reconstructed, but on a more intimate and personal basis than in those
days; and indeed there are not wanting signs that such a reconstruction
is actually taking place.

The “Letters of Love and Labour” written by Samuel M. Jones of
Toledo, Ohio, to his workmen in the engineering firm of which he was
master, are very interesting in this connection. They breathe a spirit
of extraordinary personal affection towards, and confidence in, the
employees, which was heartily responded to by the latter; and the whole
business was carried on, with considerable success, on the principle of a
close and friendly co-operation all round.[61]

These things indeed suggest to one that it is possible that the Uranian
spirit may lead to something like a general enthusiasm of Humanity,
and that the Uranian people may be destined to form the advance guard
of that great movement which will one day transform the common life
by substituting the bond of personal affection and compassion for the
monetary, legal and other external ties which now control and confine
society. Such a part of course we cannot expect the Uranians to play
unless the capacity for their kind of attachment also exists - though in
a germinal and undeveloped state - in the breast of mankind at large.
And modern thought and investigation are clearly tending that way - to
confirm that it does so exist.

Dr. E. Bertz in his late study of Whitman as a person of strongly
homogenic temperament[62] brings forward the objection that Whitman’s
gospel of Comradeship as a means of social regeneration is founded on
a false basis - because (so Dr. Bertz says) the gospel derives from an
abnormality in himself, and therefore cannot possibly have a universal
application or create a general enthusiasm. But this is rather a case of
assuming the point which has to be proved. Whitman constantly maintains
that his own disposition at any rate is normal, and that he represents
the average man. And it _may_ be true, even as far as his Uranian
temperament is concerned, that while this was specially developed in him
the germs of it _are_ almost, if not quite, universal. If so, then the
Comradeship on which Whitman founds a large portion of his message may
in course of time become a general enthusiasm, and the nobler Uranians
of to-day may be destined, as suggested, to be its pioneers and advance
guard. As one of them himself has sung: -

These things shall be! A loftier race,
Than e’er the world hath known, shall rise
With flame of freedom in their souls,
And light of science in their eyes.
Nation with nation, land with land,
In-armed shall live as comrades free;
In every heart and brain shall throb
The pulse of one fraternity.[63]

To proceed. The Uranian, though generally high-strung and sensitive,
is by no means always dreamy. He is sometimes extraordinarily
and unexpectedly practical; and such a man may, and often does,
command a positive enthusiasm among his subordinates in a business
organisation. The same is true of military organisation. As a rule
the Uranian temperament (in the male) is not militant. War with its
horrors and savagery is somewhat alien to the type. But here again
there are exceptions; and in all times there have been great generals
(like Alexander, Cæsar, Charles XII. of Sweden, or Frederick II. of
Prussia - not to speak of more modern examples) with a powerful strain in
them of the homogenic nature, and a wonderful capacity for organisation
and command, which combined with their personal interest in, or
attachment to, their troops, and the answering enthusiasm so elicited,
have made their armies well-nigh invincible.

The existence of this great practical ability in some Uranians cannot be
denied; and it points to the important work they may some day have to do
in social reconstruction. At the same time I think it is noticeable that
_politics_ (at any rate in the modern sense of the word, as concerned
mainly with party questions and party government) is not as a rule
congenial to them. The personal and affectional element is perhaps too
remote or absent. Mere ‘views’ and ‘questions’ and party strife are alien
to the Uranian man, as they are on the whole to the ordinary woman.

If politics, however, are not particularly congenial, it is yet
remarkable how many royal personages have been decidedly homogenic in
temperament. Taking the Kings of England from the Norman Conquest to
the present day, we may count about thirty. And three of these, namely,
William Rufus, Edward II., and James I. were homosexual in a marked
degree - might fairly be classed as Urnings - while some others, like
William III., had a strong admixture of the same temperament. Three
out of thirty yields a high ratio - ten per cent - and considering that
sovereigns do not generally choose themselves, but come into their
position by accident of birth, the ratio is certainly remarkable. Does
it suggest that the general percentage in the world at large is equally
high, but that it remains unnoticed, except in the fierce light that
beats upon thrones? or is there some other explanation with regard to
the special liability of royalty to inversion? Hereditary degeneracy
has sometimes been suggested. But it is difficult to explain the matter
even on this theory; for though the epithet ‘degenerate’ might possibly
apply to James I., it would certainly not be applicable to William Rufus
and William III., who, in their different ways, were both men of great
courage and personal force - while Edward II. was by no means wanting in

But while the Uranian temperament has, in cases, specially fitted
its possessors to become distinguished in art or education or war or
administration, and enabled them to do valuable work in these fields; it
remains perhaps true that above all it has fitted them, and fits them,
for distinction and service in affairs of the heart.

It is hard to imagine human beings more skilled in these matters than
are the Intermediates. For indeed no one else can possibly respond to
and understand, as they do, all the fluctuations and interactions of
the masculine and feminine in human life. The pretensive coyness and
passivity of women, the rude invasiveness of men; lust, brutality, secret
tears, the bleeding heart; renunciation, motherhood, finesse, romance,
angelic devotion - all these things lie slumbering in the Uranian soul,
ready on occasion for expression; and if they are not always expressed
are always there for purposes of divination or interpretation. There
are few situations, in fact, in courtship or marriage which the Uranian
does not instinctively understand; and it is strange to see how even an
unlettered person of this type will often read Love’s manuscript easily
in cases where the normal man or woman is groping over it like a child
in the dark. [Not of course that this means to imply any superiority of
_character_ in the former; but merely that with his double outlook he
necessarily discerns things which the other misses.]

That the Uranians do stand out as helpers and guides, not only in matters
of Education, but in affairs of love and marriage, is tolerably patent to
all who know them. It is a common experience for them to be consulted
now by the man, now by the woman, whose matrimonial conditions are
uncongenial or disastrous - not generally because the consultants in the
least perceive the Uranian nature, but because they instinctively feel
that here is a strong sympathy with and understanding of their side of
the question. In this way it is often the fate of the Uranian, himself
unrecognised, to bring about happier times and a better comprehension
of each other among those with whom he may have to deal. Also he often
becomes the confidant of young things of either sex, who are caught in
the tangles of love or passion, and know not where to turn for assistance.

I say that I think perhaps of all the services the Uranian may render to
society it will be found some day that in this direction of solving the
problems of affection and of the heart he will do the greatest service.
If the day is coming as we have suggested - when Love is at last to take
its rightful place as the binding and directing force of society (instead
of the Cash-nexus), and society is to be transmuted in consequence to a
higher form, then undoubtedly the superior types of Uranians - prepared
for this service by long experience and devotion, as well as by much
suffering - will have an important part to play in the transformation.
For that the Urnings in their own lives put Love before everything
else - postponing to it the other motives like money-making, business
success, fame, which occupy so much space in most people’s careers - is
a fact which is patent to everyone who knows them. This may be saying
little or nothing in favor of those of this class whose conception of
love is only of a poor and frivolous sort; but in the case of those
others who see the god in his true light, the fact that they serve him
in singleness of heart and so unremittingly raises them at once into the
position of the natural leaders of mankind.

From this fact - _i.e._, that these folk think so much of affairs of the
heart - and from the fact that their alliances and friendships are formed
and carried on beneath the surface of society, as it were, and therefore
to some extent beyond the inquisitions and supervisions of Mrs. Grundy,
some interesting conclusions flow.

For one thing, the question is constantly arising as to how Society would
shape itself if _free_: what form, in matters of Love and Marriage, it
would take, if the present restrictions and sanctions were removed or
greatly altered. At present in these matters, the Law, the Church, and
a strong pressure of public opinion interfere, compelling the observance
of certain forms; and it becomes difficult to say how much of the
existing order is due to the spontaneous instinct and common sense of
human nature, and how much to mere outside compulsion and interference:
how far, for instance, Monogamy is natural or artificial; to what degree
marriages would be permanent if the Law did not make them so; what is the
rational view of Divorce; whether jealousy is a necessary accompaniment
of Love; and so forth. These are questions which are being constantly
discussed, without finality; or not infrequently with quite pessimistic

Now in the Urning societies a certain freedom (though not complete,
of course) exists. Underneath the surface of general Society, and
consequently unaffected to any great degree by its laws and customs,
alliances are formed and maintained, or modified or broken, more in
accord with inner need than with outer pressure. Thus it happens that in
these societies there are such opportunities to note and observe human
grouping under conditions of freedom, as do not occur in the ordinary
world. And the results are both interesting and encouraging. As a rule I
think it may be said that the alliances are remarkably permanent. Instead
of the wild “general post” which so many good people seem to expect in
the event of law being relaxed, one finds (except of course in a few
individual cases) that common sense and fidelity and a strong tendency to
permanence prevail. In the ordinary world so far has doubt gone that many
to-day disbelieve in a life-long free marriage. Yet among the Uranians
such a thing is, one may almost say, common and well known; and there are
certainly few among them who do not believe in its possibility.

Great have been the debates, in all times and places, concerning
Jealousy; and as to how far jealousy is natural and instinctive and
universal, and how far it is the product of social opinion and the
property sense, and so on. In ordinary marriage what may be called social
and proprietary jealousy is undoubtedly a very great factor. But this
kind of jealousy hardly appears or operates in the Urning societies. Thus
we have an opportunity in these latter of observing conditions where only
the natural and instinctive jealousy exists. This of course is present
among the Urnings - sometimes rampant and violent, sometimes quiescent
and vanishing almost to _nil_. It seems to depend almost entirely upon
the individual; and we certainly learn that jealousy though frequent and
widespread, is not an absolutely necessary accompaniment of love. There
are cases of Uranians (whether men or women) who, though permanently
allied, do not object to lesser friendships on either side - and there
are cases of very decided objection. And we may conclude that something
the same would be true (is true) of the ordinary Marriage, the property
considerations and the property jealousy being once removed. The tendency
anyhow to establish a dual relation more or less fixed, is seen to be
very strong among the Intermediates, and may be concluded to be equally
strong among the more normal folk.

Again with regard to Prostitution. That there are a few natural-born
prostitutes is seen in the Urning-societies; but prostitution in that
world does not take the important place which it does in the normal
world, partly because the law-bound compulsory marriage does not exist
there, and partly because prostitution naturally has little chance and
cannot compete in a world where alliances are free and there is an open
field for friendship. Hence we may see that freedom of alliance and of
marriage in the ordinary world will probably lead to the great diminution
or even disappearance of Prostitution.

In these and other ways the experience of the Uranian world forming
itself freely and not subject to outside laws and institutions comes as
a guide - and really a hopeful guide - towards the future. I would say
however that in making these remarks about certain conclusions which we
are able to gather from some spontaneous and comparatively unrestricted
associations, I do not at all mean to argue _against_ institutions and
forms. I think that the Uranian love undoubtedly suffers from want of a
recognition and a standard. And though it may at present be better off
than if subject to a foolish and meddlesome regulation; yet in the future
it will have its more or less fixed standards and ideals, like the normal
love. If one considers for a moment how the ordinary relations of the
sexes would suffer were there no generally acknowledged codes of honor
and conduct with regard to them, one then indeed sees that reasonable
forms and institutions are a help, and one may almost wonder that the
Urning circles are so well-conducted on the whole as they are.

I have said that the Urning men in their own lives put love before
money-making, business success, fame, and other motives which rule the
normal man. I am sure that it is also true of them as a whole that
they put love before lust. I do not feel _sure_ that this can be said
of the normal man, at any rate in the present stage of evolution. It
is doubtful whether on the whole the merely physical attraction is not
the stronger motive with the latter type. Unwilling as the world at
large is to credit what I am about to say, and great as are the current
misunderstandings on the subject, I believe it is true that the Uranian
men are superior to the normal men in this respect - in respect of their
love-feeling - which is gentler, more sympathetic, more considerate, more
a matter of the heart and less one of mere physical satisfaction than
that of ordinary men.[64] All this flows naturally from the presence of
the feminine element in them, and its blending with the rest of their
nature. It should be expected _a priori_, and it can be noticed at once
by those who have any acquaintance with the Urning world. Much of the
current misunderstanding with regard to the character and habits of the
Urning arises from his confusion with the ordinary _roué_ who, though
of normal temperament, contracts homosexual habits out of curiosity
and so forth - but this is a point which I have touched on before, and
which ought now to be sufficiently clear. If it be once allowed that
the love-nature of the Uranian is of a sincere and essentially humane
and kindly type then the importance of the Uranian’s place in Society,
and of the social work he may be able to do, must certainly also be


[1] For the derivation of these terms see ch. ii., p. 20, _infra_.

[2] See Appendix, pp. 139 and 140.

[3] From _Uranos_, heaven; his idea being that the Uranian love was of a
higher order than the ordinary attachment. For further about Ulrichs and
his theories see Appendix, pp. 157-159.

[4] Charles G. Leland (“Hans Breitmann”) in his book “The Alternate
Sex” (Wellby, 1904), insists much on the frequent combination of the
characteristics of both sexes in remarkable men and women, and has a
chapter on “The Female Mind in Man,” and another on “The Male Intellect
in Woman.”

[5] Some late statistical inquiries (see “Statistische Untersuchungen,”
von Dr. M. Hirschfeld, Leipzig, 1904) yield 1.5 to 2.0 per cent. as a
probable ratio. See also Appendix, pp. 134-136.

[6] For instances, see Appendix, pp. 149-153.

[7] See De Joux, “Die Enterbten des Liebesglückes” (Leipzig, 1893), p. 21.

[8] “Psychopathia Sexualis,” 7th ed., p. 276.

[9] See Appendix, pp. 153-156.

[10] A good deal in this description may remind readers of history of the
habits and character of Henry III. of France.

[11] Perhaps, like Queen Christine of Sweden, who rode across Europe, on
her visit to Italy, in jack-boots and sitting astride of her horse. It is
said that she shook the Pope’s hand, on seeing him, so heartily that the
doctor had to attend to it afterwards!

[12] “Homosexual,” generally used in scientific works, is of course a
bastard word. “Homogenic” has been suggested, as being from two roots,
both Greek, _i.e._, “homos,” same, and “genos,” sex.

[13] “Athenæus” xiii., ch. 78.

[14] See Plutarch’s “Eroticus,” §xvii.

[15] See “Natural History of Man,” by J. G. Wood. Vol: “Africa,” p. 419.

[16] See also Livingstone’s “Expedition to the Zambesi” (Murray, 1865) p.

[17] Though these two plays, except for some quotations, are lost.

[18] Mantegazza and Lombroso. See Albert Moll, “Conträre
Sexualempfindung,” 2nd ed., p. 36.

[19] Though in translation this fact is often by pious fraudulence

[20] W. Pater’s “Renaissance,” pp. 8-16.

[21] Among _prose_ writers of this period, Montaigne, whose treatment of
the subject is enthusiastic and unequivocal, should not be overlooked.
See Hazlitt’s “Montaigne,” ch. xxvii.

[22] I may be excused for quoting here the sonnet No. 54, from J. A.
Symonds’ translation of the sonnets of Michel Angelo: -

“From thy fair face I learn, O my loved lord,
That which no mortal tongue can rightly say:
The soul, imprisoned in her house of clay,
Holpen by thee to God hath often soared:
And though the vulgar, vain, malignant horde
Attribute what their grosser wills obey,
Yet shall this fervent homage that I pay,
This love, this faith, pure joys for us afford,
Lo, all the lovely things we find on earth,
Resemble for the soul that rightly sees,
That source of bliss divine which gave us birth:
Nor have we first-fruits or remembrances
Of heaven elsewhere. Thus, loving loyally,
I rise to God, and make death sweet by thee.”

The labours of von Scheffler, followed by J. A. Symonds, have now pretty
conclusively established the pious frauds of the nephew, and the fact
that the love-poems of the elder Michel Angelo were, for the most part,
written to male friends.

[23] See an interesting paper in W. Pater’s “Renaissance.”

[24] For a fuller collection of instances of this Friendship-love in the
history of the world, see “Ioläus: an Anthology,” by E. Carpenter (George
Allen, London. 3/- net). Also “Liebling-minne und Freundesliebe in der
Welt-literatur,” von Elisar von Kupffer (Adolf Brand, Berlin, 1900).

[25] As in the case, for instance, of Tennyson’s “In Memoriam,” for which
the poet was soundly rated by the _Times_ at the time of its publication.

[26] Jowett’s “Plato,” 2nd ed., vol. ii., p. 30.

[27] Jowett, vol. ii., p. 130.

[28] One ought also to mention some later writers, like Dr. Magnus
Hirschfeld and Dr. von Römer, whose work though avowedly favourable to
the Urning-movement, is in a high degree scientific and reliable in

[29] From _Uranos_ - see, for derivation, p. 20, _supra_ - also Plato’s
“Symposium,” speech of Pausanias.

[30] See, for estimates, Appendix, pp. 134-136.

[31] Though there is no doubt a general _tendency_ towards femininity of
type in the male Urning, and towards masculinity in the female.

[32] “Gli amori degli uomini.”

[33] “Psychopathia Sexualis,” 7th ed., p. 227.

[34] _Ibid_, pp. 229 and 258. See Appendix, p. 160.

[35] “How deep congenital sex-inversion roots may be gathered from the
fact that the pleasure-dream of the male Urning has to do with male
persons, and of the female with females.” - Krafft-Ebing, “P.S.,” 7th ed.,
p. 228.

[36] “Conträre Sexualempfindung,” 2nd ed., p. 269.

[37] See “Love’s Coming-of-Age,” p. 22.

[38] Pub.: F. A. Davis, Philadelphia, 1901.

[39] Otto Weininger even goes further, and regards the temperament as
a natural intermediate form (“Sex and Character,” ch. iv.) See also
Appendix, _infra_, p. 169.

[40] “Though then before my own conscience I cannot reproach myself, and
though I must certainly reject the judgment of the world about us, yet I
suffer greatly. In very truth I have injured no one, and I hold my love
in its nobler activity for just as holy as that of normally disposed
men, but under the unhappy fate that allows us neither sufferance nor
recognition I suffer often more than my life can bear.” - Extract from a
letter given by Krafft-Ebing.

[41] See “In the Key of Blue,” by J. A. Symonds (Elkin Mathews, 1893).

[42] See Appendix, pp. 162 and 163.

[43] See also “Love’s Coming-of-Age,” 5th ed., pp. 173, 174.

[44] See “Das Conträre Geschlechtsgefühl,” von Havelock Ellis und J. A.
Symonds (Leipzig, 1896).

[45] “Symposium,” Speech of Socrates.

[46] It is interesting in this connection to notice the extreme fervour,
almost of romance, of the bond which often unites lovers of like sex
over a long period of years, in an unfailing tenderness of treatment
and consideration towards each other, equal to that shown in the most
successful marriages. The love of many such men, says Moll (p. 119),
“developed in youth lasts at times the whole life through. I know of
such men, who had not seen their first love for years, even decades, and
who yet on meeting showed the old fire of their first passion. In other
cases, a close love-intimacy will last unbroken for many years.”

[47] Though, inconsistently enough, making no mention of females.

[48] Dr. Moll maintains (2nd ed., pp. 314, 315) that if familiarities
between those of the same sex are made illegal, as immoral, self-abuse
ought much more to be so made.

[49] Though it is doubtful whether the marriage-laws even do this.

[50] In France, since the adoption of the Code Napoleon, sexual inversion
is tolerated under the same restrictions as normal sexuality; and
according to Carlier, formerly Chief of the French Police, Paris is not
more depraved in this matter than London. Italy in 1889 also adopted the
principles of the Code Napoleon on this point. For further considerations
with regard to the Law, see Appendix, pp. 164 and 165.

[51] For further instances, see Appendix, pp. 143-148.

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Online LibraryEdward CarpenterThe intermediate sex; a study of some transitional types of men and women → online text (page 6 of 9)