Edward Carpenter





Front Page

Welcome To The Edward Carpenter Forum Website

Dear Friends of the Edward Carpenter Forum Website,

Yes, it has been 10 years since we last updated our beloved website. A tramatic transfer from one web template to another eliminated certain sections (like the photos in the Imasge Gallery). This web mistress got behind on updates and, well, life got very busy and moved in other direction for the two of us who started the site. I am hoping that in the next year or two I'll be able to catch up on the latest bells and whistles for the platform and can begin to fix problems and add new content. Until then, please enjoy what is here.

In Comradeship,
Joey Cain
May 1, 2020


Welcome to Issue 4 of the Edward Carpenter Forum Website! It's been a bit long in the making but we hope the superb material we have for you in this issue will reward your wait. We start off with our first Special Feature - Edward Carpenter's Cambridge. It's a collection of articles covering the Forums' visit to and exploration of Carpenter's life in that City.

We are excited to provide both a report on and the premier of the online version of My Days and Dreams:  The Worlds of Edward Carpenter, Gay Freedom Pioneer, an exhibition on Carpenter mounted at the San Francisco Main Public Library.

EC Forum member Professor Michael Robertson has contributed a review essay on Sheila Rowbotham's Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love.

We close out this issue with a report on the gathering at Carpenter's grave in Guildford to commemorate the 80th anniversary of his passing.

Noel Greig as Edward Carpenter in his play "The Dear Love of Comrades".

It was with sadness that we heard of the death of Noel Greig, on September 9th 2009. Playwright, actor, director, teacher and gay activist, Noel Greig did perhaps more than anyone to raise the profile of Edward Carpenter during the late 1970s and early 1980s and within the Gay Liberation Movement. His play on Carpenter's life, 'The Dear Love of Comrades', for the Gay Sweatshop in 1979, introduced Edward Carpenter to many, and the ground breaking 1979 BBC2 play 'Only Connect', written by Greig and Drew Griffiths, also took Carpenter for its theme. Greig's essay, in 1984, for the Gay Modern Classics' edition of Carpenter's Selected Writings remains an outstanding introduction. The following obituary links provide a fuller account of Greig's richly lived life:

As this issue goes up on the server we are preparing for Edward Carpenter's Leeds, an event to be held in Leeds, England the weekend of September 4, 2010. Organized by Paul Marshall and the EC Forum, it promises to be a fantastic look into the political and social activism and relationships of Carpenter and his friends. We look forward to seeing many of you there.

The Henry Salt Society expressed concern over the ECF Featured Essay 'The Last Years of Edward Carpenter', which appeared in our last issue (#3). The following link gives more information about their objections: . We highly recommend the Society's excellent website and the information that it gives on this important humanitarian campaigner and man of letters.

We continue to be grateful to the Sheffield City Archives, Edward Carpenter Collection, for permission to reprint photos and other materials in their collection and to Carpenter copyright holder Jonathan Cutbill for permission to publish original Carpenter writings.

Special Feature - Edward Carpenter's Cambridge

Carpenter at Cambridge, 2nd from left with hat on knee.

The Edward Carpenter Forum hosted a day long visit to Cambridge, England in September of 2009. The event was organized and led by EC Forum co-founder and website co-editor John Baker.

Forum members visited the sites closly associated with Carpenter's years in that City, years during which he attended University and served as a curate in the Church of England. It also marked the time of his increasing awarness of both himself and the larger spiritual and political issues that would preoccupy him for the remainder of his life.

Our thanks and gratitude go to Trinty Hall Master, Professor Martin Daunton and Mrs Daunton, Dr. John Pollard and Trinity Hall Fellow Alison Hennegan for the hospitality and warm welcome they gave to us on our visit. Thanks also to Canon Fraser Watts of St Edward's Church for his graciousness and assistance.

And many thanks to our own dear John Baker for organizing this wonderful event and collecting much of the Carpenter materials we now publish here.



A photo essay of the Forum's visit to Cambridge and the places associated with Edward Carpenter.

Excerpts from Carpenter's writing about his life and times in Cambridge.

 Cambridge Comrades

A look at two of Carpenter's closest friends from his Cambridge years: Edward Beck and Charles Oates.


Our featured Letter is one Carpenter wrote in 1871 to the man who, like himself, was also gay and would be his closest confidant for over 20 years.

An account of a memorial service for Carpenter held at St Edward's Church, where he served as a curate before renouncing his orders.

Edward Carpenter Exhibit In San Francisco

sfpl-1My Days and Dreams: The Worlds of Edward Carpenter, Gay Freedom Pioneer

In January of 2009 the San Francisco Public Library mounted a month long exhibition entitled My Days and Dreams: The Worlds of Edward Carpenter, Gay Freedom Pioneer curated by EC Forum co-founder and website co-editor Joey Cain.  The exhibit coincided with Shiela Rowbotham's appearance in the San Francisco Bay Area to promote her book Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love. We are pleased to present a web version of the exhibition.

EC Forum Gathering


80th Anniversary of Carpenter's Death

On June 28, 2009 EC Forum members and friends gathered  for a commemoration of the 80th anniversary of Carpenter's death. The event took place at Carpenter's gravesite in Guilford and at his beloved home "Millthorpe, Guildford". A report by John Baker on the festivities!

Welcome to the Edward Carpenter Forum Website

This issue of the Forum website commemorates the eightieth anniversary of Edward Carpenter's death on June 28, 1929. We've brought together a collection of offerings that include EC's reflections on death in our Web Premier and Member's Choice, his friend's memories of him in Featured Essay and In Appreciation, a memento of his last years in Carpenter Letters, and a celebration of the legacy of his published works in our Photo Essay.
Two very important participants in the history of Carpenter studies join us with this issue.
Jonathan Cutbill is the current Carpenter Literary Executor and a Gay antiquarian, bibliographer, publisher, and collector. He has put together items from his collection for our Photo Essay this month. The EC Forum once again extends our warm thanks to him and gratitude for his ongoing permission to print unpublished Carpenter material.

Professor Chushichi Tsuzuki, who published the first full scale biography of EC entitled Edward Carpenter 1844-1929: Prophet of Human Fellowship, has graciously allowed us to reprint his essay on Carpenter's last years for our Featured Essay. His biography, first published in 1980, was reprinted by Cambridge University Press last year.

Sheila at San Francisco's City Lights Bookshop with EC in the Window.
Speaking of biographies, Sheila Rowbotham's Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love recently won the USA's Lambda Literary Foundation Award for best biography. Congratulations Sheila! We plan on having more coverage on Sheila's book in our next issue.

Several other books released in the last year of interest to Carpenter enthusiasts have come to our attention. We have listed these in a Books of Note section in the left hand side bar.

The Forum will be sponsoring a day long exploration of "Carpenter's Cambridge" on September 19, 2009 in Cambridge, England. See the Events listing for more details.

ec-&-gm-crop.jpgWe wish to extend a happy Gay Day to everyone. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the watershed event of the modern Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender movement, the Stonewall Riots in New York City on June 28, 1969. Occurring exactly 40 years to the day after Carpenter's death, it would perhaps not be overstating it to say that Carpenter's greatest legacy lay in the movement that his writings, organizing activities and vision helped to bring into existence.

The website will be going through some upgrading in the next few months. If you experience trouble signing up as a member please email us directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The same holds true for contacting us in general.

We extend our thanks to the Sheffield Archives for their ongoing encouragement and permission to print photos from their collection. This issue was co-edited by John Baker and Joey Cain (though John really did the lion's share of editorial leg work-JC). Send us your comments, questions and submissions for publication consideration to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Edward Carpenter (1844-1929) was a proponent of a "larger" Socialism, one that embraced the liberation of the emotional and spiritual life along with the economic. A small-holding farmer and cultural and political activist, he advocated the Simplification of Life and put his beliefs into practice. A man of letters, he published over 20 books, including his collection of poems Towards Democracy, and numerous additional articles. He campaigned through out his life on many issues of social concern, ranging from women's suffrage to the protection of the environment, from sexual emancipation to the formation of trade unions. A unifying spiritual vision underlay all of his life and work. As a homosexual man, he lived openly and in quiet celebration while his writings and example laid the foundation for the homosexual freedom movement of the twentieth century. More on Edward Carpenter...
Through his many friendships, Edward Carpenter transversed again and again the divisions of class, gender, sexuality, race and creed. Men and women from across the world and from all walks of life came into connection with each other through him and his home at Millthorpe in Derbyshire, England. Appreciative of this, the Edward Carpenter Forum welcomes a diversity of men and women from around the world and from a wide range of interest groups; social, political or academic.