Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Skeletons in Cupboards

It is of course easy to say that opponents of psychoanalysis are frightened of it for what it might reveal. Easy to say because it’s usually true. I have just discovered that one of its influential early opponents was Lord Alfred Douglas. Yes, that’s right: in earlier life the companion and enthusiastic bugger-er (is that the word?) of the worst kind of back-street rent boys, and the unspeakably creepy little catamite of Oscar Wilde. By 1920 he was a ‘reformed character’ and, I kid you not, head of the Catholic Purity League, from which eminence he campaigned fiercely against the growing psychoanalytic movement.

Lord Alfred was also known — well, by now largely forgotten — as a very bad poet; the sort whose stuff was probably only published because he was a Lord. The present Lord, Sir Gawain Douglas, happens to live near me when I’m in England; I’ve met him and have a signed copy of his own slim volume of verses; I’m afraid his stuff is even worse that his great-grandfather’s. In time I think the two Lords’ offences against poetry will probably be considered worse that anything else they may have done.

Here’s Lord Alfred with his lover Oscar Wilde:

No comments:

Post a Comment