Queer Connections: The Library of John Addington Symonds
December 5, 2019 to March 13, 2020
John Addington Symonds (1840-1893) was a Victorian writer, book collector, and pioneering theorist of human sexuality. Prompted by personal experience, he searched for historical evidence of same-sex love and social support for relationships considered “deviant” in his own time. He found that evidence in Ancient Greece, inspiring his 1883 essay "A Problem in Greek Ethics"—a ground-breaking analysis of homosexuality in the ancient world that became a touchstone for the emerging gay rights movement.
Through his reading, writing, and collecting practices, Symonds also created a network of like-minded thinkers, artists, and writers. This exhibition—curated by faculty and student participants in the John Addington Symonds Project (JASP), the pilot iteration of the Classics Research Lab (CRL)—displays extracts from Symonds’s library, a glimpse of the “queer connections” that sustained him and enabled his work.
Milton S. Eisenhower Library, M-level