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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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(p.59) Chapter Four Elsa

Rachel Hope Cleves

University of Chicago Press

The story of Norman Douglas's marriage to his first cousin Elsa FitzGibbon, in 1898, demonstrates the power differential between men and women in normative relationships at the time, and suggests that the gulf between intergenerational relationships and marital relationships was not as great at the turn of the twentieth century as it is now. Douglas and FitzGibbon had two sons, Louis Archibald (Archie) Douglas, born in 1899, and Robert (Robin) Sholto Douglas, born in 1902. They divorced in 1904 on the grounds of FitzGibbon's adultery, and Douglas kept custody of the boys. FitzGibbon alleged that Douglas was molesting Archie, but Douglas managed to squelch her allegations in court, and he removed the boys to England. They never again saw FitzGibbon, who died in a bed fire in Munich in 1916. Douglas did his best to erase her from his life.

Keywords:   marriage, Elsa FitzGibbon, children, adultery, custody, divorce, sexual abuse, Naples, Capri, Norman Douglas

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