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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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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

Looking Back

Looking Back

(p.273) Chapter Twenty-One Looking Back

Rachel Hope Cleves

University of Chicago Press

The ongoing conversation about Norman Douglas in the decades after his death reveal changing attitudes towards adult-child sex. The relaxation of censorship laws and the relaxation of standards of speech allowed writers to speak directly about Douglas's sexual encounters with boys. In 1976, Mark Holloway published the first full biography of Douglas, which included detailed accounts of his relationships with boys. The book came out at a crucial moment in the history, after the relaxation of limits on sexual speech, and before the intensification of the contemporary taboo against pedophilia—a moment when open discussion of adult-child sex was possible. Many of Douglas's friends objected to Holloway's honest portrait. Elizabeth David defended Douglas's legacy, professing admiration for his sexual iconoclasm and redefining him as an embodiment of authentic epicureanism. In recent decades, portraits of Douglas have been unremittingly negative.

Keywords:   Norman Douglas, biography, Mark Holloway, child abuse, pedophilia, censorship, Elizabeth David, epicureanism

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