Troubador The Fraternity of the Estranged

Released: 28/04/2018

ISBN: 9781788037815

eISBN: 9781788034876

Format: Paperback/eBook

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The Fraternity of the Estranged

The Fight for Homosexual Rights in England, 1891-1908


Originally passed in 1885, the law that had made homosexual relations a crime remained in place for 82 years. But during this time, restrictions on same-sex relationships did not go unchallenged. Between 1891 and 1908, three books on the nature of homosexuality appeared. They were written by two homosexual men: Edward Carpenter and  John Addington Symonds, and a third, Havelock Ellis.


At this time, the study of homosexuality was limited almost exclusively to the European continent. Books that were circulated freely in Europe were hardly known in England, and men who loved men were pushed to the margins of a society where masculinity was strenuously upheld.


Carpenter and Symonds’ story and their brave stand against persecution is largely forgotten, but in such a hostile environment, their publications were highly significant. They were the first English contributions to the scientific understanding of homosexuality, and, more importantly, opened the long struggle for the legal recognition of same-sex love that was finally achieved in 1967.


The Fraternity of the Estranged will speak principally to the LGBT community and, in a time more accepting of sexual diversity, to a wider readership. It will also appeal to readers interested in history as it recounts what it was like to be homosexual in late-Victorian England.


Female First

The Brighton Magazine

This is an excellent book that I highly recommend for all. I give this book five stars. An excellent look into the history of how homosexuality was viewed in Victorian England.

by Autumn Turner (via NetGalley)

I enjoyed this extremely detailed, well research history of the struggle of homosexual life in the late 1800s- early 1900s. Symonds, Ellis and Carpenter bravely used their writing abilities and risked their reputations to fight the beliefs/laws of the time. The research was so extensive, about 25% of the book contains the sources for this exploration. This book is very academic in its telling. Highly recommend to anyone with a deep interest in gay history.

by Jeff Linamen

This was exceptionally well written with buckets of knowledge on something that is very important. I like that we see the lives of three men who have varying points of views and what they did with their lives. Although I disagreed with one of these men, I found that I did respect their choice and their reasons. I enjoyed this book a lot. I hope that a lot of people get helpful information from this book.

by Savannah Poulin

The sub-title says it all – this is a thoroughly researched and detailed account of the fight for homosexual rights in England 1891-1908. It explores the interrelated lives and work of 3 key people in this struggle - Edward Carpenter, John Addington Symonds and Havelock Ellis. Although it’s a fairly academic text (about a quarter of the book comprises the author’s sources) it’s nevertheless an eminently readable and accessible book and an extremely interesting one. These three writers made significant and important contributions to the scientific understanding of homosexuality, and the book is an important document of social history, as well as a fascinating account of the lives of each of them and their circle. Enormously enjoyable and informative.

by Mandy Jenkinson

Terrific and much needed book. Sheds light on a period that was very much tight lipped with little definitively known. A terrific historical exploration of the context which shaped modern perceptions of sexuality both socially and legally. As a writer of historical fiction, it will prove an invaluable resource.

by Jay Ian

I wanted to read this book as I am really interested in historical novels. This is a part of history I know very little about. There has obviously been a lot of research carried out to write this book. Every part of the book seems to have been well researched and thought about. There is a great deal of information packed in.

by Julie Hosford (via NetGalley)

Brian Anderson

Dr Brian Anderson is an independent researcher with a special interest in the history of Victorian attitudes towards human sexuality, especially homosexuality

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