Edward Carpenter

(1844—1929) campaigner for homosexual equality and socialist writer

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Frederick Denison Maurice (1805—1872) Church of England clergyman and theologian

Henry David Thoreau (1817—1862) American essayist and poet

E. M. Forster (1879—1970) novelist and essayist

John Ruskin (1819—1900) art critic and social critic

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'Edward Carpenter' can also refer to...

Edward Childs Carpenter (1872—1950)

Edward Frederick Carpenter (1910—1998) dean of Westminster and ecclesiastical historian


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became fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge and curate to F. D. Maurice. In 1874 he abandoned fellowship and orders and moved north, eventually settling at Millthorpe, near Chesterfield, where he pursued, by precept and example, his own concept of socialism and communal fellowship, in a manner much influenced by Thoreau and also by Ruskin and W. Morris. He wrote and lectured in support of varied progressive causes, and his own lifestyle and revolt against middle‐class convention (expressed by sandals, vegetarianism, overt homosexuality, praise of manual labour and the working man) became an important symbol of liberation for many, including E. M. Forster. Of his many writings the best remembered is probably his long poem Towards Democracy (published in 4 parts, 1883–1902), in which he expresses his millenarian sense of the cosmic consciousness and ‘spiritual democracy’, and of the march of humanity towards ‘freedom and joy’, much influenced by Whitman and the Bhagavad‐gitā. His autobiography, My Days and Dreams, was published in 1916.

Subjects: Literature.

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