In 1898, whilst appearing at the Cambridge Footlights club, he met and had an affair with the then unknown Aleister Crowley. Crowley describes his lover:
'Pollitt was rather plain than otherwise. His face was made tragic by the terrible hunger of the eyes and the bitter sadness of the mouth. He possessed one physical beauty - his hair. This was very plentiful and he wore it rather long. It was what is called a shock. But its colour was pale gold, like spring sunshine, and its texture was of the finest gossamer.'Crowley would later write that 'I lived with Pollitt as his wife for some six months and he made a poet out of me'.
Pollitt was also a friend of Aubrey Beardsley, and was painted by James Whistler. He was an art collector. He was the original of the 'Babe' in E.F. Benson's 'The Babe, B.A.'.
Crowley immortalized Pollitt in The Scented Garden of Abdullah the Satirist - a collection of poems which are a blend of Persian mysticism and the glorification of homosexual love, written in the style of ghazals by an imaginary seventeenth-century poet, Abdullah El Haji, supposedly translated into English by an Anglo-Indian, Major Lutiy, and discussed by an equally imaginary Anglican clergyman. In the closing sections of the book, the name of Herbert Charles Jerome Pollitt is spelled out in the first letter of each line, to be followed (but in reverse order) by that of Aleister Crowley.
Herbert Pollitt, female impersonator, art collector, was a stage female impersonator under the name of Diane De Rougy. He took his femme name from a celebrated courtesan, Liane de Pougy. In 1898, whilst appearing at the Cambridge Footlights club, he met and had an affair with the then unknown Aleister Crowley. Crowley would later write that 'I lived with Pollitt as his wife for some six months and he made a poet out of me'. He was the original of the 'Babe' in E.F. Benson's 'The Babe, B.A.'.
Pollitt did not share Crowley's spiritual quest, and Crowley ended the affair shortly after going down from Cambridge in 1898. He later recognized this as an 'imbecile' mistake, and he continued to regret it.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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