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: