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UnspeakableA Life beyond Sexual Morality$
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Rachel Hope Cleves

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226733531

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226733678.001.0001

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Annetta and Michele

Annetta and Michele

(p.48) Chapter Three Annetta and Michele

Rachel Hope Cleves

University of Chicago Press

In 1896, Norman Douglas moved to Il Posillipo, in the Bay of Naples. He named his house the Villa Maya, the Sanskrit word for illusion. Douglas abandoned career and respectability, devoting himself to a life of pleasure, and in particular the hedonistic pursuit of sexual encounters with the city's child prostitutes, girls and boys. In 1889, Italy had enacted the Zanardelli Code, which decriminalized sex between males. Italian law and society tolerated sex between men and boys to a surprising extent. Like many queer elite Englishmen in the late nineteenth century, Douglas found Italy's sexual laxity advantageous compared to the more punitive legal regime in Britain. Soon after moving to Naples, he embarked on a sexual relationship with an adolescent boy named Michele, an important landmark in Douglas's growing identity as a pederast.

Keywords:   Naples, prostitution, virginity, Italy, Zanardelli Code, pederasty, Norman Douglas

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