Gayism In The Victorian Age

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My grandparents once discussed the LGBT culture of the modern times: “Where are all of these gay people coming from? There were none when we were young…” was the problem they pondered over. Little did they know that gay people had been there all of their lives. Some of the signs of this are found in literature, where hidden symbols were used to show one’s inclinations. From there stems this essay in which three sonnets from 19th century are inspected for their homosexual content. This is done by analysing the sonnets for any symbols that are mentioned in the theoretical part and looking at the general meaning of the chosen work as well. The chosen sonnets – “Heartsease and Orchid”, “Hylas” and “Corydon” – were written under the pen-name P.L.O…show more content…
It was a time of British imperial expansion and innovation. Socially, it is known as a time of rigid sexuality and of exploring the new and as of yet unexplained phenomena related to the human desire. With the help of medical and psychological practitioners, the previously unknown term of homosexuality came into being. (Sanna, 2012:21-23; The National Archives; Meijer 2011:2-3) To the LGBT communities, Victorian era is important for its aggressive heteronormativity and laws prohibiting male and female homosexuality. As the matter of same-sex love was analysed, it was seen as immoral, unacceptable and even diabolical (Sanna, 2012:21-23; Meijer, 2011:2). Thus, the practice was deemed punishable by the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act and by the Vagrancy Act of 1898, as well as declared a disease by the doctors (Sanna 2012:21-23; The National…show more content…
in the publication The Spirit Lamp, could be classified as depicting homosexual love. For the purpose of easing the analysis, the sonnets are looked as to portray the intentions and feelings of a male persona, though no clear indication of it is given. The idea of the gender of the persona is backed by the understanding that the magazine was a front for the gay authors, Uranians, to publish their works. The sonnet “Heartsease and Orchid”, could be understood as to portray two men as flowers or as flower givers and the main persona as enamoured with both. As written in the sonnet, a boy gives the persona the flower of heartsease: “Heartsease it was from his dear hand I took, /…/ Breathing the freshness of his boyhood fair.” Yet then comes another man with an orchid, and the effect this has on the narrator is much stronger:
There came another with a far-off
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