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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.75) Chapter Five Capri

Rachel Hope Cleves

University of Chicago Press

After his divorce, Norman Douglas moved to Capri, an island in the Bay of Naples. Douglas began to craft a new persona as a modern pagan, rejecting all moral laws and dedicating himself to the pursuit of pleasure. Capri had been notorious since the classical era for the sexual availability of the island's children. Douglas was one of many foreign pederasts drawn to Capri for that reason. While living there, Douglas self-published a series of essays about Capri, including a defense of the Roman emperor Tiberius, who according to Suetonius had molested the island's children at his notorious orgies. Many fans of Douglas associated him with Tiberius. Douglas was also linked to other classical figures within the pederastic tradition, including Lucian of Samosta and Petronius Arbiter. The lesbian painter Romaine Brooks described Douglas's sexual pursuit of Capri's boys as faunesque. Other friends likened him to a satyr.

Keywords:   Capri, literature, pagan, Tiberius, pederasty, Norman Douglas, boys

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