Ives was the illegitimate son of an English army officer and a Spanish baroness. He was raised by his paternal grandmother, Emma Ives. They lived between Bentworth in Hampshire and the South of France.
Ives was educated at home and at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he started to amass 45 volumes of scrapbooks (between 1892 and 1949). These scrapbooks consist of clippings on topics such as murders, punishments, freaks, theories of crime and punishment, transvestism, psychology of gender, homosexuality, cricket scores, and letters he wrote to newspapers.
Ives met Oscar Wilde at the Authors' Club in London in 1892. Oscar Wilde was taken by his boyish looks and persuaded him to shave off his moustache, and once kissed him passionately in the Travellers' Club. Ives was already working for the end of the oppression of homosexuals, what he called the "Cause." He hoped that Wilde would join the "Cause", but was disappointed. In 1893, Lord Alfred Douglas, with whom he had a brief affair, introduced Ives to several Oxford poets whom Ives also tried to recruit.
By 1897, Ives created and founded the Order of Chaeronea, a secret society for homosexuals which was named after the location of the battle where the Sacred Band of Thebes was finally annihilated in 338 BC. Members included Charles Kains Jackson, Samuel Elsworth Cottam, Montague Summers, and John Gambril Nicholson.
The same year, Ives visited Edward Carpenter at Millthorpe. This marked the beginning of their friendship.
In 1914, Ives, together with Edward Carpenter, Magnus Hirschfeld, Laurence Housman and others, founded the British Society for the Study of Sex Psychology. He also kept in touch with other progressive psychologists such as Havelock Ellis and Professor Cesare Lombroso.
The topics addressed by the Society in lectures and publications included: the promotion of the scientific study of sex and a more rational attitude towards sexual conduct; problems and questions connected with sexual psychology (from medical, juridical, and sociological aspects), birth control, abortion, sterilisation, venereal diseases, and all aspects of prostitution. In 1931, the organisation became the British Sexological Society. Ives was the archivist for the Society whose papers are now held by the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
Ives also visited prisons across Europe and specialised in the study of the penal methods, particularly that of England. He lectured and published books on the topic.
As he grew older Ives developed a passion for melons, and filled his house at 196 Adelaide Road, NW3 (where he lived from 1906) with them. When the Second World War ended he refused to believe it and carried a gas mask with him until his death. He was also afraid to sleep alone and would always contrive to have at least one bed fellow.
Throughout his life, Ives had many lovers whom he called his "children". He took care of them, gave them money and bought them houses. He often lived with more than one lover at a time and some stayed with him several years.
He was the model for Raffles, the fictional Victorian gentleman thief, according to Lycett. Lycett says that the creator of Raffles, William Hornung, "may not have understood this sexual side of Ives' character", but that Raffles "enjoys a remarkably intimate relationship with his sidekick Bunny Manders."
Hellenism and Homosexuality in Victorian Oxford by Linda Dowling
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Cornell University Press (January 3, 1997)
Amazon: Hellenism and Homosexuality in Victorian Oxford
"Dowling's compact and intelligently argued study is concerned with the late-Victorian emergence of homosexuality as an identity rather than as an activity. . . . [This identity] was formed out of notions of Hellenism current in mid-century Oxford that were held to be lofty and ennobling and even a kind of substitute for a waning Christianity."-Nineteenth- Century Literature"Dowling's study is an exceptionally clear-headed and far-reaching analysis of the way Greek studies operated as a 'homosexual code' during the great age of English university reform. . . . Beautifully written and argued with subtlety, the book is indispensable for students of Victorian literature, culture, gender studies, and the nature of social change."-Choice"Hellenism and Homosexuality . . . presents a detailed and knowledgeable . . . account of such factors as the Oxford Movement and the influence of such Victorian dons as Jowett and Pater and the evolving evaluations of Classical Greece, its mores and morals. It is also enhanced by [an] analysis of Greek terminology with homosexual connotations, as to be found, for instance, in Plato's Republic."-Lambda Book Report
The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde by Neil McKenna
Paperback: 576 pages
Publisher: Basic Books; Paperback Ed edition (November 7, 2006)
Amazon: The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde
In The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde, Neil McKenna provides stunning new insight into the tumultuous sexual and psychological worlds of this brilliant and tormented figure. McKenna charts Wilde’s astonishing odyssey through London’s sexual underworld, and provides explosive new evidence of the political machinations behind Wilde’s trials for sodomy. Dazzlingly written and meticulously researched, The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde offers a vividly original portrait of a troubled genius who chose to martyr himself for the cause of love between men.
London and the Culture of Homosexuality, 1885-1914 (Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture) by Matt Cook
Paperback: 244 pages
Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (November 6, 2008)
Amazon: London and the Culture of Homosexuality, 1885-1914
Matt Cook explores the relationship between London and homosexuality from 1885 to 1914, years marked by intensification in concern about male-male relationships and also by the emergence of an embryonic homosexual rights movement. Cook combines his coverage of London's homosexual subculture and various major and minor scandals with a detailed examination of representations in the press, science and literature. This conjunction of approaches distinguishes this study from other works and provides new insight into the development of ideas about homosexuality during the period.
Queer London: Perils and Pleasures in the Sexual Metropolis, 1918-1957 (The Chicago Series on Sexuality, History, and Society) by Matt Houlbrook
Paperback: 398 pages
Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (October 15, 2006)
Amazon: Queer London: Perils and Pleasures in the Sexual Metropolis, 1918-1957
In August 1934, young Cyril L. wrote to his friend Billy about all the exciting men he had met, the swinging nightclubs he had visited, and the vibrant new life he had forged for himself in the big city. He wrote, "I have only been queer since I came to London about two years ago, before then I knew nothing about it." London, for Cyril, meant boundless opportunities to explore his newfound sexuality. But his freedom was limite: he was soon arrested, simply for being in a club frequented by queer men.
Cyril's story is Matt Houlbrook's point of entry into the queer worlds of early twentieth-century London. Drawing on previously unknown sources, from police reports and newspaper exposés to personal letters, diaries, and the first queer guidebook ever written, Houlbrook here explores the relationship between queer sexualities and modern urban culture that we take for granted today. He revisits the diverse queer lives that took hold in London's parks and streets; its restaurants, pubs, and dancehalls; and its Turkish bathhouses and hotels—as well as attempts by municipal authorities to control and crack down on those worlds. He also describes how London shaped the culture and politics of queer life—and how London was in turn shaped by the lives of queer men. Ultimately, Houlbrook unveils the complex ways in which men made sense of their desires and who they were. In so doing, he mounts a sustained challenge to conventional understandings of the city as a place of sexual liberation and a unified queer culture.
A history remarkable in its complexity yet intimate in its portraiture, Queer London is a landmark work that redefines queer urban life in England and beyond.
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