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Havelock Ellis

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Havelock Ellis (February 2, 1859-July 8, 1939) was a British doctor, sexual psychologist and social reformer.

He studied medicine at St Thomas' Hospital, although never had a regular medical practice; he joined The Fellowship of the New Life in 1883, meeting other social reformers Edward Carpenter and George Bernard Shaw. In 1891, when still a virgin, Ellis married Edith Lees. He was interested in sexual liberation and wrote the seven volume Studies in the Psychology of Sex between 1897 and [1928. Until 1935 this work was only legally available to the medical profession.

His Sexual Inversion, the first English medical text book on homosexuality, co-authored with John Addington Symonds, described the sexual relations of homosexual men, something that Ellis did not consider to be a disease, immoral, or a crime. A bookseller was prosecuted in 1897 for stocking it. Other psychologically important concepts developed by Ellis include autoeroticism and narcissism, both of which were later taken on by Sigmund Freud.

Ellis was a supporter of eugenics which he wrote about in The Task of Social Hygiene.

"Eventually, it seems evident, a general system, whether private or public, whereby all personal facts, biological and mental, normal and morbid, are duly and systematically registered, must become inevitable if we are to have a real guide as to those persons who are most fit, or most unfit to carry on the race."

The Papers of Havelock Ellis are held at the University of Birmingham Special Collections.


  • The Criminal (1890)
  • The New Spirit (1890)
  • The Nationalisation of Health (1892)
  • Man and Woman: A Study of Secondary and Tertiary Sexual Characteristics (1894) (revised 1929)
  • Sexual Inversion (1897) (with J.A. Symonds) Full text
  • Affirmations (1898)
  • The Evolution of Modesty, The Phenomena of Sexual Periodicity, Auto-Erotism, (1900) Full text
  • The Nineteenth Century, (1900)
  • Analysis of the Sexual Impulse, Love and Pain, The Sexual Impulse in Women, (1903) Full text
  • A Study of British Genius (1904)
  • Sexual Selection in Man (1905) Full text
  • Erotic Symbolism, The Mechanism of Detumescence, The Psychic State in Pregnancy (1906) Full text
  • The Soul of Spain (1908)
  • Sex in Relation to Society (1910) Full text
  • The Problem of Race-Regeneration (1911)
  • The World of Dreams (1911)
  • The Task of Social Hygiene (1912)
  • Impressions and Comments (1914-1924) (3 vols.) [1]
  • Essays in War-Time (1916) Full text
  • The Philosophy of Conflict (1919)
  • On Life and Sex: Essays of Love and Virtue (1921)
  • Kanga Creek: An Australian Idyll (1922) Full text
  • Little Essays of Love and Virtue (1922)
  • The Dance of Life (1923) [2]
  • translator: Germinal (by Zola) (1924)
  • Sonnets, with Folk Songs from the Spanish (1925)
  • Eonism and Other Supplementary Studies (1928)
  • The Art of Life (1929) (selected and arranged by Mrs. S. Herbert)
  • More Essays of Love and Virtue (1931)
  • ed.: James Hinton: Life in Nature (1931)
  • Views and Reviews (1932) Full text
  • Psychology of Sex (1933)
    • Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 1 :The Evolution of Modesty; The Phenomena of Sexual Periodicity; Auto-Erotism Full text
    • Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 2 :Sexual Inversion Full text
    • Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 3 :Analysis of the Sexual Impulse; Love and Pain; The Sexual Impulse in Women. Full text
    • Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 4 :Sexual Selection In Man. Full text
    • Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 5 :Erotic Symbolism; The Mechanism of Detumescence; The Psychic State in Pregnancy. Full text
    • Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 6:Sex in Relation to Society English Full text

  • ed.: Imaginary Conversations and Poems: A Selection, by Walter Savage Landor (1933)
  • Chapman (1934)
  • My Confessional (1934)
  • Questions of Our Day (1934)
  • From Rousseau to Proust (1935)
  • Selected Essays (1936)
  • Poems (1937) (selected by John Gawsworth; pseudonym of T. Fytton Armstrong)
  • Love and Marriage (1938) (with others)
  • My Life (1939)
  • Sex Compatibility in Marriage (1939)
  • From Marlowe to Shaw (1950) (ed. by J. Gawsworth)
  • The Genius of Europe (1950)
  • Sex and Marriage (1951) (ed. by J. Gawsworth)
  • The Unpublished Letters of Havelock Ellis to Joseph Ishill (1954)

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