Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Schooling Sexologists

Henry Havelock EllisIt is always gratifying when a description or name mentioned by our author can be corroborated with the account of another. Such an example is given by Henry Havelock Ellis. In his colourful and controversial adult life he spent time as a sexologist, psychologist, philosopher, critic, author and editor, teacher, a man of medicine, long-time virgin and husband of a lesbian. At least some of his childhood time at the school near Tooting Station must responsible for influencing published ideas.

Frederick attended The Poplars, Mitcham from the age of 8 in 1856. It is surprising that, 16 years later, Havelock Ellis did the same under the notable Albert Grover. This teacher had at least 25 years of experience to develop his eccentric method and although Frederick is largely complementary, Havelock Ellis is exasperated by his poetry and it is a fellow teacher that inspires him on his path within philosophy and medicine.

Havelock describes Albert Grover as oddity, a tall middle-aged man, looking much older than his years, with a long grey beard, a bald head and a blind eye. He had some resemblance to Darwin but he cherished much contempt for that great man's doctrines...

Havelock Ellis developed his interest in literature, reading Keats, Shelley, Carlyle and Elliot, the kind of people Frederick's grandfather would have had dealings with. As a man, he too mixed with the men of ideas and reformers of his age.

Havelock Ellis
Australian Dictionary of Biography Online Edition Henry Havelock Ellis
Havelock Ellis, Henry et al. (1967) My Life
Brome, Vincent (1979) Havelock Ellis, Philosopher of Sex: A Biography

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