Havelock Ellis on nudism

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Havelock Ellis on nudism

Postby Bobby » Fri Feb 13, 2015 12:00 pm

I don't know whether this is the right forum to place this. Almost three years ago I came across this landmark work by Havelock Ellis. He wrote a six volume set on The Psychology of Sex. The quotation comes the third chapter of the 6th volume.

Ellis was not a Christian and was quite a controversial figure in his day. He and his wife had an open marriage, if I remember correctly, not a common practice in the late 1800s and early 1900s, to say the least. His wife had an open relationship with another woman. Yet despite the controversy and the immorality of his life, he has made some good contributions to the field of human sexuality.

I disagree with some of his reasoning in the six volume work but this chapter is not one of them. It is quite long but very interesting. I would be so bold as to say that he builds his arguments well. Read it and let us know what you think. (I chose not to put it in a Quote environment because one tends to get fed up with lengthy quotes quite quickly.)

The chapter appears in the next post.

Reference: H. Ellis, The Psychology of Sex, s.a., vol. 6, chap. 3
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Re: Havelock Ellis on nudism

Postby Bobby » Fri Feb 13, 2015 12:04 pm

Part 1
CHAPTER III.

SEXUAL EDUCATION AND NAKEDNESS.

The discussion of the value of nakedness in art leads us on to the allied
question of nakedness in nature. What is the psychological influence of
familiarity with nakedness? How far should children be made familiar with
the naked body? This is a question in regard to which different opinions
have been held in different ages, and during recent years a remarkable
change has begun to come over the minds of practical educationalists in
regard to it.

In Sparta, in Chios, and elsewhere in Greece, women at one time practiced
gymnastic feats and dances in nakedness, together with the men, or in
their presence.[40] Plato in his _Republic_ approved of such customs and
said that the ridicule of those who laughed at them was but "unripe fruit
plucked from the tree of knowledge." On many questions Plato's opinions
changed, but not on this. In the _Laws_, which are the last outcome of his
philosophic reflection in old age, he still advocates (Bk. viii) a similar
co-education of the sexes and their coöperation in all the works of life,
in part with a view to blunt the over-keen edge of sexual appetite; with
the same object he advocated the association together of youths and girls
without constraint in costumes which offered no concealment to the form.

It is noteworthy that the Romans, a coarser-grained people than the Greeks
and in our narrow modern sense more "moral," showed no perception of the
moralizing and refining influence of nakedness. Nudity to them was merely
a licentious indulgence, to be treated with contempt even when it was
enjoyed. It was confined to the stage, and clamored for by the populace.
In the Floralia, especially, the crowd seem to have claimed it as their
right that the actors should play naked, probably, it has been thought, as
a survival of a folk-ritual. But the Romans, though they were eager to run
to the theatre, felt nothing but disdain for the performers. "Flagitii
principium est, nudare inter cives corpora." So thought old Ennius, as
reported by Cicero, and that remained the genuine Roman feeling to the
last. "Quanta perversitas!" as Tertullian exclaimed. "Artem magnificant,
artificem notant."[41] In this matter the Romans, although they aroused
the horror of the Christians, were yet in reality laying the foundation of
Christian morality.

Christianity, which found so many of Plato's opinions congenial, would
have nothing to do with his view of nakedness and failed to recognize its
psychological correctness. The reason was simple, and indeed
simple-minded. The Church was passionately eager to fight against what it
called "the flesh," and thus fell into the error of confusing the
subjective question of sexual desire with the objective spectacle of the
naked form. "The flesh" is evil; therefore, "the flesh" must be hidden.
And they hid it, without understanding that in so doing they had not
suppressed the craving for the human form, but, on the contrary, had
heightened it by imparting to it the additional fascination of a forbidden
mystery.

Burton, in his _Anatomy of Melancholy_ (Part III, Sect II, Mem.
II, Subs. IV), referring to the recommendations of Plato, adds:
"But _Eusebius_ and _Theodoret_ worthily lash him for it; and
well they might: for as one saith, the very sight of naked
parts, _causeth enormous, exceeding concupiscences, and stirs up
both men and women to burning lust_." Yet, as Burton himself adds
further on in the same section of his work (Mem. V, Subs. III),
without protest, "some are of opinion, that to see a woman naked,
is able of itself to alter his affection; and it is worthy of
consideration, saith _Montaigne_, the Frenchman, in his Essays,
that the skilfullest masters of amorous dalliance appoint for a
remedy of venereous passions, a full survey of the body."

There ought to be no question regarding the fact that it is the
adorned, the partially concealed body, and not the absolutely
naked body, which acts as a sexual excitant. I have brought
together some evidence on this point in the study of "The
Evolution of Modesty." "In Madagascar, West Africa, and the
Cape," says G.F. Scott Elliot (_A Naturalist in Mid-Africa_, p.
36), "I have always found the same rule. Chastity varies
inversely as the amount of clothing." It is now indeed generally
held that one of the chief primary objects of ornament and
clothing was the stimulation of sexual desire, and artists'
models are well aware that when they are completely unclothed,
they are most safe from undesired masculine advances. "A favorite
model of mine told me," remarks Dr. Shufeldt (_Medical Brief_,
Oct., 1904), the distinguished author of _Studies of the Human
Form_, "that it was her practice to disrobe as soon after
entering the artist's studio as possible, for, as men are not
always responsible for their emotions, she felt that she was far
less likely to arouse or excite them when entirely nude than when
only semi-draped." This fact is, indeed, quite familiar to
artists' models. If the conquest of sexual desire were the first
and last consideration of life it would be more reasonable to
prohibit clothing than to prohibit nakedness.

When Christianity absorbed the whole of the European world this strict
avoidance of even the sight of "the flesh," although nominally accepted by
all as the desirable ideal, could only be carried out, thoroughly and
completely, in the cloister. In the practice of the world outside,
although the original Christian ideals remained influential, various pagan
and primitive traditions in favor of nakedness still persisted, and were,
to some extent, allowed to manifest themselves, alike in ordinary custom
and on special occasions.

How widespread is the occasional or habitual practice of
nakedness in the world generally, and how entirely concordant it
is with even a most sensitive modesty, has been set forth in "The
Evolution of Modesty," in vol. i of these _Studies_.

Even during the Christian era the impulse to adopt nudity, often
with the feeling that it was an especially sacred practice, has
persisted. The Adamites of the second century, who read and
prayed naked, and celebrated the sacrament naked, according to
the statement quoted by St. Augustine, seem to have caused little
scandal so long as they only practiced nudity in their sacred
ceremonies. The German Brethren of the Free Spirit, in the
thirteenth century, combined so much chastity with promiscuous
nakedness that orthodox Catholics believed they were assisted by
the Devil. The French Picards, at a much later date, insisted on
public nakedness, believing that God had sent their leader into
the world as a new Adam to reestablish the law of Nature; they
were persecuted and were finally exterminated by the Hussites.

In daily life, however, a considerable degree of nakedness was
tolerated during mediæval times. This was notably so in the
public baths, frequented by men and women together. Thus Alwin
Schultz remarks (in his _Höfische Leben zur Zeit der
Minnesänger_), that the women of the aristocratic classes, though
not the men, were often naked in these baths except for a hat and
a necklace.

It is sometimes stated that in the mediæval religious plays Adam
and Eve were absolutely naked. Chambers doubts this, and thinks
they wore flesh-colored tights, or were, as in a later play of
this kind, "apparelled in white leather" (E.K. Chambers, _The
Mediæval Stage_, vol. i, p. 5). It may be so, but the public
exposure even of the sexual organs was permitted, and that in
aristocratic houses, for John of Salisbury (in a passage quoted
by Buckle, _Commonplace Book_, 541) protests against this custom.

The women of the feminist sixteenth century in France, as R. de
Maulde la Clavière remarks (_Revue de l'Art_, Jan., 1898), had no
scruple in recompensing their adorers by admitting them to their
toilette, or even their bath. Late in the century they became
still less prudish, and many well-known ladies allowed themselves
to be painted naked down to the waist, as we see in the portrait
of "Gabrielle d'Estrées au Bain" at Chantilly. Many of these
pictures, however, are certainly not real portraits.

Even in the middle of the seventeenth century in England
nakedness was not prohibited in public, for Pepys tells us that
on July 29, 1667, a Quaker came into Westminster Hall, crying,
"Repent! Repent!" being in a state of nakedness, except that he
was "very civilly tied about the privities to avoid scandal."
(This was doubtless Solomon Eccles, who was accustomed to go
about in this costume, both before and after the Restoration. He
had been a distinguished musician, and, though eccentric, was
apparently not insane.)

In a chapter, "De la Nudité," and in the appendices of his book,
_De l'Amour_ (vol. i, p. 221), Sénancour gives instances of the
occasional practice of nudity in Europe, and adds some
interesting remarks of his own; so, also, Dulaure (_Des Divinités
Génératrices_, Ch. XV). It would appear, as a rule, that though
complete nudity was allowed in other respects, it was usual to
cover the sexual parts.

The movement of revolt against nakedness never became completely
victorious until the nineteenth century. That century represented the
triumph of all the forces that banned public nakedness everywhere and
altogether. If, as Pudor insists, nakedness is aristocratic and the
slavery of clothes a plebeian characteristic imposed on the lower classes
by an upper class who reserved to themselves the privilege of physical
culture, we may perhaps connect this with the outburst of democratic
plebeianism which, as Nietzsche pointed out, reached its climax in the
nineteenth century. It is in any case certainly interesting to observe
that by this time the movement had entirely changed its character. It had
become general, but at the same time its foundation had been undermined.
It had largely lost its religious and moral character, and instead was
regarded as a matter of convention. The nineteenth century man who
encountered the spectacle of white limbs flashing in the sunlight no
longer felt like the mediæval ascetic that he was risking the salvation of
his immortal soul or even courting the depravation of his morals; he
merely felt that it was "indecent" or, in extreme cases, "disgusting."
That is to say he regarded the matter as simply a question of conventional
etiquette, at the worst, of taste, of æsthetics. In thus bringing down his
repugnance to nakedness to so low a plane he had indeed rendered it
generally acceptable, but at the same time he had deprived it of high
sanction. His profound horror of nakedness was out of relation to the
frivolous grounds on which he based it.

We must not, however, under-rate the tenacity with which this
horror of nakedness was held. Nothing illustrates more vividly
the deeply ingrained hatred which the nineteenth century felt of
nakedness than the ferocity--there is no other word for it--with
which Christian missionaries to savages all over the world, even
in the tropics, insisted on their converts adopting the
conventional clothing of Northern Europe. Travellers' narratives
abound in references to the emphasis placed by missionaries on
this change of custom, which was both injurious to the health of
the people and degrading to their dignity. It is sufficient to
quote one authoritative witness, Lord Stanmore, formerly Governor
of Fiji, who read a long paper to the Anglican Missionary
Conference in 1894 on the subject of "Undue Introduction of
Western Ways." "In the centre of the village," he remarked in
quoting a typical case (and referring not to Fiji but to Tonga),
"is the church, a wooden barn-like building. If the day be
Sunday, we shall find the native minister arrayed in a
greenish-black swallow-tail coat, a neckcloth, once white, and a
pair of spectacles, which he probably does not need, preaching to
a congregation, the male portion of which is dressed in much the
same manner as himself, while the women are dizened out in old
battered hats or bonnets, and shapeless gowns like bathing
dresses, or it may be in crinolines of an early type. Chiefs of
influence and women of high birth, who in their native dress
would look, and do look, the ladies and gentlemen they are, are,
by their Sunday finery, given the appearance of attendants upon
Jack-in-the-Green. If a visit be paid to the houses of the town,
after the morning's work of the people is over, the family will
be found sitting on chairs, listless and uncomfortable, in a room
full of litter. In the houses of the superior native clergy there
will be a yet greater aping of the manners of the West. There
will be chairs covered with hideous antimacassars, tasteless
round worsted-work mats for absent flower jars, and a lot of ugly
cheap and vulgar china chimney ornaments, which, there being no
fireplace, and consequently no chimney-piece, are set out in
order on a rickety deal table. The whole life of these village
folk is one piece of unreal acting. They are continually asking
themselves whether they are incurring any of the penalties
entailed by infraction of the long table of prohibitions, and
whether they are living up to the foreign garments they wear.
Their faces have, for the most part, an expression of sullen
discontent, they move about silently and joylessly, rebels in
heart to the restrictive code on them, but which they fear to
cast off, partly from a vague apprehension of possible secular
results, and partly because they suppose they will cease to be
good Christians if they do so. They have good ground for their
dissatisfaction. At the time when I visited the villages I have
specially in my eye, it was punishable by fine and imprisonment
to wear native clothing, punishable by fine and imprisonment to
wear long hair or a garland of flowers; punishable by fine or
imprisonment to wrestle or to play at ball; punishable by fine
and imprisonment to build a native-fashioned house; punishable
not to wear shirt and trousers, and in certain localities coat
and shoes also; and, in addition to laws enforcing a strictly
puritanical observation of the Sabbath, it was punishable by fine
and imprisonment to bathe on Sundays. In some other places
bathing on Sunday was punishable by flogging; and to my
knowledge women have been flogged for no other offense. Men in
such circumstances are ripe for revolt, and sometimes the revolt
comes."

An obvious result of reducing the feeling about nakedness to an
unreasoning but imperative convention is the tendency to
prudishness. This, as we know, is a form of pseudo-modesty which,
being a convention, and not a natural feeling, is capable of
unlimited extension. It is by no means confined to modern times
or to Christian Europe. The ancient Hebrews were not entirely
free from prudishness, and we find in the Old Testament that by a
curious euphemism the sexual organs are sometimes referred to as
"the feet." The Turks are capable of prudishness. So, indeed,
were even the ancient Greeks. "Dion the philosopher tells us,"
remarks Clement of Alexandria (_Stromates_, Bk. IV, Ch. XIX)
"that a certain woman, Lysidica, through excess of modesty,
bathed in her clothes, and that Philotera, when she was to enter
the bath, gradually drew back her tunic as the water covered her
naked parts; and then rising by degrees, put it on." Mincing
prudes were found among the early Christians, and their ways are
graphically described by St. Jerome in one of his letters to
Eustochium: "These women," he says, "speak between their teeth or
with the edge of the lips, and with a lisping tongue, only half
pronouncing their words, because they regard as gross whatever is
natural. Such as these," declares Jerome, the scholar in him
overcoming the ascetic, "corrupt even language." Whenever a new
and artificial "modesty" is imposed upon savages prudery tends to
arise. Haddon describes this among the natives of Torres Straits,
where even the children now suffer from exaggerated prudishness,
though formerly absolutely naked and unashamed (_Cambridge
Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits_, vol. v, p. 271).

The nineteenth century, which witnessed the triumph of timidity and
prudery in this matter, also produced the first fruitful germ of new
conceptions of nakedness. To some extent these were embodied in the great
Romantic movement. Rousseau, indeed, had placed no special insistence on
nakedness as an element of the return to Nature which he preached so
influentially. A new feeling in this matter emerged, however, with
characteristic extravagance, in some of the episodes of the Revolution,
while in Germany in the pioneering _Lucinde_ of Friedrich Schlegel, a
characteristic figure in the Romantic movement, a still unfamiliar
conception of the body was set forth in a serious and earnest spirit.

In England, Blake with his strange and flaming genius, proclaimed a
mystical gospel which involved the spiritual glorification of the body and
contempt for the civilized worship of clothes ("As to a modern man," he
wrote, "stripped from his load of clothing he is like a dead corpse");
while, later, in America, Thoreau and Whitman and Burroughs asserted,
still more definitely, a not dissimilar message concerning the need of
returning to Nature.

We find the importance of the sight of the body--though very
narrowly, for the avoidance of fraud in the preliminaries of
marriage--set forth as early as the sixteenth century by Sir
Thomas More in his _Utopia_, which is so rich in new and fruitful
ideas. In Utopia, according to Sir Thomas More, before marriage,
a staid and honest matron "showeth the woman, be she maid or
widow, naked to the wooer. And likewise a sage and discreet man
exhibiteth the wooer naked to the woman. At this custom we
laughed and disallowed it as foolish. But they, on their part, do
greatly wonder at the folly of all other nations which, in buying
a colt where a little money is in hazard, be so chary and
circumspect that though he be almost all bare, yet they will not
buy him unless the saddle and all the harness be taken off, lest
under these coverings be hid some gall or sore. And yet, in
choosing a wife, which shall be either pleasure or displeasure to
them all their life after, they be so reckless that all the
residue of the woman's body being covered with clothes, they
estimate her scarcely by one handsbreadth (for they can see no
more but her face) and so join her to them, not without great
jeopardy of evil agreeing together, if anything in her body
afterward should chance to offend or mislike them. Verily, so
foul deformity may be hid under these coverings that it may quite
alienate and take away the man's mind from his wife, when it
shall not be lawful for their bodies to be separate again. If
such deformity happen by any chance after the marriage is
consummate and finished, well, there is no remedy but patience.
But it were well done that a law were made whereby all such
deceits were eschewed and avoided beforehand."

The clear conception of what may be called the spiritual value of
nakedness--by no means from More's point of view, but as a part
of natural hygiene in the widest sense, and as a high and special
aspect of the purifying and ennobling function of beauty--is of
much later date. It is not clearly expressed until the time of
the Romantic movement at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
We have it admirably set forth in Sénancour's _De l'Amour_ (first
edition, 1806; fourth and enlarged edition, 1834), which still
remains one of the best books on the morality of love. After
remarking that nakedness by no means abolishes modesty, he
proceeds to advocate occasional partial or complete nudity. "Let
us suppose," he remarks, somewhat in the spirit of Plato, "a
country in which at certain general festivals the women should be
absolutely free to be nearly or even quite naked. Swimming,
waltzing, walking, those who thought good to do so might remain
unclothed in the presence of men. No doubt the illusions of love
would be little known, and passion would see a diminution of its
transports. But is it passion that in general ennobles human
affairs? We need honest attachments and delicate delights, and
all these we may obtain while still preserving our
common-sense.... Such nakedness would demand corresponding
institutions, strong and simple, and a great respect for those
conventions which belong to all times" (Sénancour, _De l'Amour_,
vol. i, p. 314).

From that time onwards references to the value and desirability
of nakedness become more and more frequent in all civilized
countries, sometimes mingled with sarcastic allusions to the
false conventions we have inherited in this matter. Thus Thoreau
writes in his journal on June 12, 1852, as he looks at boys
bathing in the river: "The color of their bodies in the sun at a
distance is pleasing. I hear the sound of their sport borne over
the water. As yet we have not man in Nature. What a singular fact
for an angel visitant to this earth to carry back in his
note-book, that men were forbidden to expose their bodies under
the severest penalties."

Iwan Bloch, in Chapter VII of his _Sexual Life of Our Time_,
discusses this question of nakedness from the modern point of
view, and concludes: "A natural conception of nakedness: that is
the watchword of the future. All the hygienic, æsthetic, and
moral efforts of our time are pointing in that direction."

Stratz, as befits one who has worked so strenuously in the cause
of human health and beauty, admirably sets forth the stage which
we have now attained in this matter. After pointing out (_Die
Frauenkleidung_, third edition, 1904, p. 30) that, in opposition
to the pagan world which worshipped naked gods, Christianity
developed the idea that nakedness was merely sexual, and
therefore immoral, he proceeds: "But over all glimmered on the
heavenly heights of the Cross, the naked body of the Saviour.
Under that protection there has gradually disengaged itself from
the confusion of ideas a new transfigured form of nakedness made
free after long struggle. I would call this _artistic nakedness_,
for as it was immortalized by the old Greeks through art, so also
among us it has been awakened to new life by art. Artistic
nakedness is, in its nature, much higher than either the natural
or the sensual conception of nakedness. The simple child of
Nature sees in nakedness nothing at all; the clothed man sees in
the uncovered body only a sensual irritation. But at the highest
standpoint man consciously returns to Nature, and recognizes that
under the manifold coverings of human fabrication there is
hidden the most splendid creature that God has created. One may
stand in silent, worshipping wonder before the sight; another may
be impelled to imitate and show to his fellow-man what in that
holy moment he has seen. But both enjoy the spectacle of human
beauty with full consciousness and enlightened purity of
thought."

It was not, however, so much on these more spiritual sides, but on the
side of hygiene, that the nineteenth century furnished its chief practical
contribution to the new attitude towards nakedness.

Lord Monboddo, the Scotch judge, who was a pioneer in regard to
many modern ideas, had already in the eighteenth century realized
the hygienic value of "air-baths," and he invented that now
familiar name. "Lord Monboddo," says Boswell, in 1777 (_Life of
Johnson_, edited by Hill, vol. iii, p. 168) "told me that he
awaked every morning at four, and then for his health got up and
walked in his room naked, with the window open, which he called
taking _an air-bath_." It is said also, I know not on what
authority, that he made his beautiful daughters take an air-bath
naked on the terrace every morning. Another distinguished man of
the same century, Benjamin Franklin, used sometimes to work naked
in his study on hygienic grounds, and, it is recorded, once
affrighted a servant-girl by opening the door in an absent-minded
moment, thus unattired.

Rikli seems to have been the apostle of air-baths and sun-baths
regarded as a systematic method. He established light-and
air-baths over half a century ago at Trieste and elsewhere in
Austria. His motto was: "Light, Truth, and Freedom are the motive
forces towards the highest development of physical and moral
health." Man is not a fish, he declared; light and air are the
first conditions of a highly organized life. Solaria for the
treatment of a number of different disordered conditions are now
commonly established, and most systems of natural therapeutics
attach prime importance to light and air, while in medicine
generally it is beginning to be recognized that such influences
can by no means be neglected. Dr. Fernand Sandoz, in his
_Introduction à la Thérapeutique Naturiste par les agents
Physiques et Dietétiques_ (1907) sets forth such methods
comprehensively. In Germany sun-baths have become widely common;
thus Lenkei (in a paper summarized in _British Medical Journal_,
Oct. 31, 1908) prescribes them with much benefit in tuberculosis,
rheumatic conditions, obesity, anæmia, neurasthenia, etc. He
considers that their peculiar value lies in the action of light.
Professor J.N. Hyde, of Chicago, even believes ("Light-Hunger in
the Production of Psoriasis," _British Medical Journal_, Oct. 6,
1906), that psoriasis is caused by deficiency of sunlight, and
is best cured by the application of light. This belief, which has
not, however, been generally accepted in its unqualified form, he
ingeniously supports by the fact that psoriasis tends to appear
on the most exposed parts of the body, which may be held to
naturally receive and require the maximum of light, and by the
absence of the disease in hot countries and among negroes.

The hygienic value of nakedness is indicated by the robust health
of the savages throughout the world who go naked. The vigor of
the Irish, also, has been connected with the fact that (as Fynes
Moryson's _Itinerary_ shows) both sexes, even among persons of
high social class, were accustomed to go naked except for a
mantle, especially in more remote parts of the country, as late
as the seventeenth century. Where-ever primitive races abandon
nakedness for clothing, at once the tendency to disease,
mortality, and degeneracy notably increases, though it must be
remembered that the use of clothing is commonly accompanied by
the introduction of other bad habits. "Nakedness is the only
condition universal among vigorous and healthy savages; at every
other point perhaps they differ," remarks Frederick Boyle in a
paper ("Savages and Clothes," _Monthly Review_, Sept., 1905) in
which he brings together much evidence concerning the hygienic
advantages of the natural human state in which man is "all face."

It is in Germany that a return towards nakedness has been most
ably and thoroughly advocated, notably by Dr. H. Pudor in his
_Nackt-Cultur_, and by R. Ungewitter in _Die Nacktheit_ (first
published in 1905), a book which has had a very large circulation
in many editions. These writers enthusiastically advocate
nakedness, not only on hygienic, but on moral and artistic
grounds. Pudor insists more especially that "nakedness, both in
gymnastics and in sport, is a method of cure and a method of
regeneration;" he advocates co-education in this culture of
nakedness. Although he makes large claims for
nakedness--believing that all the nations which have disregarded
these claims have rapidly become decadent--Pudor is less hopeful
than Ungewitter of any speedy victory over the prejudices opposed
to the culture of nakedness. He considers that the immediate task
is education, and that a practical commencement may best be made
with the foot which is specially in need of hygiene and exercise;
a large part of the first volume of his book is devoted to the
foot.

As the matter is to-day viewed by those educationalists who are equally
alive to sanitary and sexual considerations, the claims of nakedness, so
far as concerns the young, are regarded as part alike of physical and
moral hygiene. The free contact of the naked body with air and water and
light makes for the health of the body; familiarity with the sight of the
body abolishes petty pruriencies, trains the sense of beauty, and makes
for the health of the soul. This double aspect of the matter has
undoubtedly weighed greatly with those teachers who now approve of customs
which, a few years ago, would have been hastily dismissed as "indecent."
There is still a wide difference of opinion as to the limits to which the
practice of nakedness may be carried, and also as to the age when it
should begin to be restricted. The fact that the adult generation of
to-day grew up under the influence of the old horror of nakedness is an
inevitable check on any revolutionary changes in these matters.

Maria Lischnewska, one of the ablest advocates of the methodical
enlightenment of children in matters of sex (op. cit.), clearly
realizes that a sane attitude towards the body lies at the root
of a sound education for life. She finds that the chief objection
encountered in such education, as applied in the higher classes
of schools, is "the horror of the civilized man at his own body."
She shows that there can be no doubt that those who are engaged
in the difficult task of working towards the abolition of that
superstitious horror have taken up a moral task of the first
importance.

Walter Gerhard, in a thoughtful and sensible paper on the
educational question ("Ein Kapitel zur Erziehungsfrage,"
_Geschlecht und Gesellschaft_, vol. i, Heft 2), points out that
it is the adult who needs education in this matter--as in so many
other matters of sexual enlightenment--considerably more than the
child. Parents educate their children from the earliest years in
prudery, and vainly flatter themselves that they have thereby
promoted their modesty and morality. He records his own early
life in a tropical land and accustomed to nakedness from the
first. "It was not till I came to Germany when nearly twenty that
I learnt that the human body is indecent, and that it must not be
shown because that 'would arouse bad impulses.' It was not till
the human body was entirely withdrawn from my sight and after I
was constantly told that there was something improper behind
clothes, that I was able to understand this.... Until then I had
not known that a naked body, by the mere fact of being naked,
could arouse erotic feelings. I had known erotic feelings, but
they had not arisen from the sight of the naked body, but
gradually blossomed from the union of our souls." And he draws
the final moral that, if only for the sake of our children, we
must learn to educate ourselves.

Forel (_Die Sexuelle Frage_, p. 140), speaking in entirely the
same sense as Gerhard, remarks that prudery may be either caused
or cured in children. It may be caused by undue anxiety in
covering their bodies and hiding from them the bodies of others.
It may be cured by making them realize that there is nothing in
the body that is unnatural and that we need be ashamed of, and by
encouraging bathing of the sexes in common. He points out (p.
512) the advantages of allowing children to be acquainted with
the adult forms which they will themselves some day assume, and
condemns the conduct of those foolish persons who assume that
children already possess the adult's erotic feelings about the
body. That is so far from being the case that children are
frequently unable to distinguish the sex of other children apart
from their clothes.

At the Mannheim Congress of the German Society for Combating
Venereal Diseases, specially devoted to sexual hygiene, the
speakers constantly referred to the necessity of promoting
familiarity with the naked body. Thus Eulenburg and Julian
Marcuse (_Sexualpädagogik_, p. 264) emphasize the importance of
air-baths, not only for the sake of the physical health of the
young, but in the interests of rational sexual training. Höller,
a teacher, speaking at the same congress (op. cit., p. 85), after
insisting on familiarity with the nude in art and literature, and
protesting against the bowdlerising of poems for the young,
continues: "By bathing-drawers ordinances no soul was ever yet
saved from moral ruin. One who has learnt to enjoy peacefully the
naked in art is only stirred by the naked in nature as by a work
of art." Enderlin, another teacher, speaking in the same sense
(p. 58), points out that nakedness cannot act sexually or
immorally on the child, since the sexual impulse has not yet
become pronounced, and the earlier he is introduced to the naked
in nature and in art, as a matter of course, the less likely are
the sexual feelings to be developed precociously. The child thus,
indeed, becomes immune to impure influences, so that later, when
representations of the nude are brought before him for the object
of provoking his wantonness, they are powerless to injure him. It
is important, Enderlin adds, for familiarity with the nude in art
to be learnt at school, for most of us, as Siebert remarks, have
to learn purity through art.

Nakedness in bathing, remarks Bölsche in his _Liebesleben in der
Natur_ (vol. iii, pp. 139 et seq.), we already in some measure
possess; we need it in physical exercises, at first for the sexes
separately; then, when we have grown accustomed to the idea,
occasionally for both sexes together. We need to acquire the
capacity to see the bodies of individuals of the other sex with
such self-control and such natural instinct that they become
non-erotic to us and can be gazed at without erotic feeling. Art,
he says, shows that this is possible in civilization. Science, he
adds, comes to the aid of the same view.

Ungewitter (_Die Nacktheit_, p. 57) also advocates boys and girls
engaging in play and gymnastics together, entirely naked in
air-baths. "In this way," he believes, "the gymnasium would
become a school of morality, in which young growing things would
be able to retain their purity as long as possible through
becoming naturally accustomed to each other. At the same time
their bodies would be hardened and developed, and the perception
of beautiful and natural forms awakened." To those who have any
"moral" doubts on the matter, he mentions the custom in remote
country districts of boys and girls bathing together quite naked
and without any sexual consciousness. Rudolf Sommer, similarly,
in an excellent article entitled "Mädchenerziehung oder
Menschenbildung?" (_Geschlecht und Gesellschaft_, Bd. i, Heft 3)
advises that children should be made accustomed to each other's
nakedness from an early age in the family life of the house or
the garden, in games, and especially in bathing; he remarks that
parents having children of only one sex should cultivate for
their children's sake intimate relations with a family having
children of like age of the opposite sex, so that they may grow
up together.

It is scarcely necessary to add that the cultivation of nakedness must
always be conciliated with respect for the natural instincts of modesty.
If the practice of nakedness led the young to experience a diminished
reverence for their own or others' personalities the advantages of it
would be too dearly bought. This is, in part, a matter of wholesome
instinct, in part of wise training. We now know that the absence of
clothes has little relation with the absence of modesty, such relation as
there is being of the inverse order, for the savage races which go naked
are usually more modest than those which wear clothes. The saying quoted
by Herodotus in the early Greek world that "A woman takes off her modesty
with her shift" was a favorite text of the Christian Fathers. But
Plutarch, who was also a moralist, had already protested against it at the
close of the Greek world: "By no means," he declared, "she who is modest
clothes herself with modesty when she lays aside her tunic." "A woman may
be naked," as Mrs. Bishop, the traveller, remarked to Dr. Baelz, in Japan,
"and yet behave like a lady."[42]

The question is complicated among ourselves because established
traditions of rigid concealment have fostered a pruriency which is an
offensive insult to naked modesty. In many lands the women who are
accustomed to be almost or quite naked in the presence of their own people
cover themselves as soon as they become conscious of the lustful
inquisitive eyes of Europeans. Stratz refers to the prevalence of this
impulse of offended modesty in Japan, and mentions that he himself failed
to arouse it simply because he was a physician, and, moreover, had long
lived in another land (Java) where also the custom of nakedness
prevails.[43] So long as this unnatural prurience exists a free
unqualified nakedness is rendered difficult.

Modesty is not, however, the only natural impulse which has to be
considered in relation to the custom of nakedness. It seems probable that
in cultivating the practice of nakedness we are not merely carrying out a
moral and hygienic prescription but allowing legitimate scope to an
instinct which at some periods of life, especially in adolescence, is
spontaneous and natural, even, it may be, wholesomely based in the
traditions of the race in sexual selection. Our rigid conventions make it
impossible for us to discover the laws of nature in this matter by
stifling them at the outset. It may well be that there is a rhythmic
harmony and concordance between impulses of modesty and impulses of
ostentation, though we have done our best to disguise the natural law by
our stupid and perverse by-laws.

Stanley Hall, who emphasizes the importance of nakedness, remarks
that at puberty we have much reason to assume that in a state of
nature there is a certain instinctive pride and ostentation that
accompanies the new local development, and quotes the observation
of Dr. Seerley that the impulse to conceal the sexual organs is
especially marked in young men who are underdeveloped, but not
evident in those who are developed beyond the average. Stanley
Hall (_Adolescence_, vol. ii, p. 97), also refers to the
frequency with which not only "virtuous young men, but even
women, rather glory in occasions when they can display the beauty
of their forms without reserve, not only to themselves and to
loved ones, but even to others with proper pretexts."

Many have doubtless noted this tendency, especially in women, and
chiefly in those who are conscious of beautiful physical
development. Madame Céline Renooz believes that the tendency
corresponds to a really deep-rooted instinct in women, little or
not at all manifested in men who have consequently sought to
impose artificially on women their own masculine conceptions of
modesty. "In the actual life of the young girl to-day there is a
moment when, by a secret atavism, she feels the pride of her sex,
the intuition of her moral superiority and cannot understand why
she must hide its cause. At this moment, wavering between the
laws of Nature and social conventions, she scarcely knows if
nakedness should, or should not, affright her. A sort of confused
atavistic memory recalls to her a period before clothing was
known, and reveals to her as a paradisaical ideal the customs of
that human epoch" (Céline Renooz, _Psychologie Comparée de
l'Homme et de la Femme_, pp. 85-87). Perhaps this was obscurely
felt by the German girl (mentioned in Kalbeck's _Life of
Brahms_), who said: "One enjoys music twice as much
_décolletée_."

From the point of view with which we are here essentially concerned there
are three ways in which the cultivation of nakedness--so far as it is
permitted by the slow education of public opinion--tends to exert an
influence: (1) It is an important element in the sexual hygiene of the
young, introducing a wholesome knowledge and incuriosity into a sphere
once given up to prudery and pruriency. (2) The effect of nakedness is
beneficial on those of more mature age, also, in so far as it tends to
cultivate the sense of beauty and to furnish the tonic and consoling
influences of natural vigor and grace. (3) The custom of nakedness, in its
inception at all events, has a dynamic psychological influence also on
morals, an influence exerted in the substitution of a strenuous and
positive morality for the merely negative and timid morality which has
ruled in this sphere.

Perhaps there are not many adults who realize the intense and secret
absorption of thought in the minds of many boys and some girls concerning
the problem of the physical conformation of the other sex, and the time,
patience, and intellectual energy which they are willing to expend on the
solution of this problem. This is mostly effected in secret, but not
seldom the secret impulse manifests itself with a sudden violence which in
the blind eyes of the law is reckoned as crime. A German lawyer, Dr.
Werthauer, has lately stated that if there were a due degree of
familiarity with the natural organs and functions of the opposite sex
ninety per cent. of the indecent acts of youths with girl children would
disappear, for in most cases these are not assaults but merely the
innocent, though uncontrollable, outcome of a repressed natural curiosity.
It is quite true that not a few children boldly enlist each others'
coöperation in the settlement of the question and resolve it to their
mutual satisfaction. But even this is not altogether satisfactory, for the
end is not attained openly and wholesomely, with a due subordination of
the specifically sexual, but with a consciousness of wrong-doing and an
exclusive attentiveness to the merely physical fact which tend directly to
develop sexual excitement. When familiarity with the naked body of the
other sex is gained openly and with no consciousness of indecorum, in the
course of work and of play, in exercise or gymnastics, in running or in
bathing, from a child's earliest years, no unwholesome results accompany
the knowledge of the essential facts of physical conformation thus
naturally acquired. The prurience and prudery which have poisoned sexual
life in the past are alike rendered impossible.

Nakedness has, however, a hygienic value, as well as a spiritual
significance, far beyond its influences in allaying the natural
inquisitiveness of the young or acting as a preventative of morbid
emotion. It is an inspiration to adults who have long outgrown any
youthful curiosities. The vision of the essential and eternal human form,
the nearest thing to us in all the world, with its vigor and its beauty
and its grace, is one of the prime tonics of life. "The power of a woman's
body," said James Hinton, "is no more bodily than the power of music is a
power of atmospheric vibrations." It is more than all the beautiful and
stimulating things of the world, than flowers or stars or the sea. History
and legend and myth reveal to us the sacred and awful influence of
nakedness, for, as Stanley Hall says, nakedness has always been "a
talisman of wondrous power with gods and men." How sorely men crave for
the spectacle of the human body--even to-day after generations have
inculcated the notion that it is an indecorous and even disgusting
spectacle--is witnessed by the eagerness with which they seek after the
spectacle of even its imperfect and meretricious forms, although these
certainly possess a heady and stimulating quality which can never be found
in the pathetic simplicity of naked beauty. It was another spectacle when
the queens of ancient Madagascar at the annual Fandroon, or feast of the
bath, laid aside their royal robes and while their subjects crowded the
palace courtyard, descended the marble steps to the bath in complete
nakedness. When we make our conventions of clothing rigid we at once
spread a feast for lust and deny ourselves one of the prime tonics of
life.

"I was feeling in despair and walking despondently along a
Melbourne street," writes the Australian author of a yet
unpublished autobiography, "when three children came running out
of a lane and crossed the road in full daylight. The beauty and
texture of their legs in the open air filled me with joy, so that
I forgot all my troubles whilst looking at them. It was a bright
revelation, an unexpected glimpse of Paradise, and I have never
ceased to thank the happy combination of shape, pure blood, and
fine skin of these poverty-stricken children, for the wind seemed
to quicken their golden beauty, and I retained the rosy vision of
their natural young limbs, so much more divine than those always
under cover. Another occasion when naked young limbs made me
forget all my gloom and despondency was on my first visit to
Adelaide. I came on a naked boy leaning on the railing near the
Baths, and the beauty of his face, torso, fair young limbs and
exquisite feet filled me with joy and renewed hope. The tears
came to my eyes, and I said to myself, 'While there is beauty in
the world I will continue to struggle,'"

We must, as Bölsche declares (loc. cit.), accustom ourselves to
gaze on the naked human body exactly as we gaze at a beautiful
flower, not merely with the pity with which the doctor looks at
the body, but with joy in its strength and health and beauty. For
a flower, as Bölsche truly adds, is not merely "naked body," it
is the most sacred region of the body, the sexual organs of the
plant.

"For girls to dance naked," said Hinton, "is the only truly pure
form of dancing, and in due time it must therefore come about.
This is certain: girls will dance naked and men will be pure
enough to gaze on them." It has already been so in Greece, he
elsewhere remarks, as it is to-day in Japan (as more recently
described by Stratz). It is nearly forty years since these
prophetic words were written, but Hinton himself would probably
have been surprised at the progress which has already been made
slowly (for all true progress must be slow) towards this goal.
Even on the stage new and more natural traditions are beginning
to prevail in Europe. It is not many years since an English
actress regarded as a calumny the statement that she appeared on
the stage bare-foot, and brought an action for libel, winning
substantial damages. Such a result would scarcely be possible
to-day. The movement in which Isadora Duncan was a pioneer has
led to a partial disuse among dancers of the offensive device of
tights, and it is no longer considered indecorous to show many
parts of the body which it was formerly usual to cover.

It should, however, be added at the same time that, while
dancers, in so far as they are genuine artists, are entitled to
determine the conditions most favorable to their art, nothing
whatever is gained for the cause of a wholesome culture of
nakedness by the "living statues" and "living pictures" which
have obtained an international vogue during recent years. These
may be legitimate as variety performances, but they have nothing
whatever to do with either Nature or art. Dr. Pudor, writing as
one of the earliest apostles of the culture of nakedness, has
energetically protested against these performances
(_Sexual-Probleme_, Dec., 1908, p. 828). He rightly points out
that nakedness, to be wholesome, requires the open air, the
meadows, the sunlight, and that nakedness at night, in a music
hall, by artificial light, in the presence of spectators who are
themselves clothed, has no element of morality about it. Attempts
have here and there been quietly made to cultivate a certain
amount of mutual nakedness as between the sexes on remote country
excursions. It is significant to find a record of such an
experiment in Ungewitter's _Die Nacktheit_. In this case a party
of people, men and women, would regularly every Sunday seek
remote spots in woods or meadows where they would settle down,
picnic, and enjoy games. "They made themselves as comfortable as
possible, the men laying aside their coats, waistcoats, boots and
socks; the women their blouses, skirts, shoes and stockings.
Gradually, as the moral conception of nakedness developed in
their minds, more and more clothing fell away, until the men wore
nothing but bathing-drawers and the women only their chemises. In
this 'costume' games were carried out in common, and a regular
camp-life led. The ladies (some of whom were unmarried) would
then lie in hammocks and we men on the grass, and the intercourse
was delightful. We felt as members of one family, and behaved
accordingly. In an entirely natural and unembarrassed way we gave
ourselves up entirely to the liberating feelings aroused by this
light- and air-bath, and passed these splendid hours in joyous
singing and dancing, in wantonly childish fashion, freed from the
burden of a false civilization. It was, of course, necessary to
seek spots as remote as possible from high-roads, for fear of
being disturbed. At the same time we by no means failed in
natural modesty and consideration towards one another. Children,
who can be entirely naked, may be allowed to take part in such
meetings of adults, and will thus be brought up free from morbid
prudery" (R. Ungewitter, _Die Nacktheit_, p. 58).

No doubt it may be said that the ideal in this matter is the
possibility of permitting complete nakedness. This may be
admitted, and it is undoubtedly true that our rigid police
regulations do much to artificially foster a concealment in this
matter which is not based on any natural instinct. Dr. Shufeldt
narrates in his _Studies of the Human Form_ that once in the
course of a photographic expedition in the woods he came upon two
boys, naked except for bathing-drawers, engaged in getting water
lilies from a pond. He found them a good subject for his camera,
but they could not be induced to remove their drawers, by no
means out of either modesty or mock-modesty, but simply because
they feared they might possibly be caught and arrested. We have
to recognize that at the present day the general popular
sentiment is not yet sufficiently educated to allow of public
disregard for the convention of covering the sexual centres, and
all attempts to extend the bounds of nakedness must show a due
regard for this requirement. As concerns women, Valentin Lehr, of
Freiburg, in Breisgau, has invented a costume (figured in
Ungewitter's _Die Nacktheit_) which is suitable for either public
water-baths or air-baths, because it meets the demand of those
whose minimum requirement is that the chief sexual centres of the
body should be covered in public, while it is otherwise fairly
unobjectionable. It consists of two pieces, made of porous
material, one covering the breasts with a band over the
shoulders, and the other covering the abdomen below the navel and
drawn between the legs. This minimal costume, while neither ideal
nor æsthetic, adequately covers the sexual regions of the body,
while leaving the arms, waist, hips, and legs entirely free.
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Re: Havelock Ellis on nudism

Postby Bobby » Fri Feb 13, 2015 12:06 pm

Part 2

There finally remains the moral aspect of nakedness. Although this has
been emphasized by many during the past half century it is still
unfamiliar to the majority. The human body can never be a little thing.
The wise educator may see to it that boys and girls are brought up in a
natural and wholesome familiarity with each other, but a certain terror
and beauty must always attach to the spectacle of the body, a mixed
attraction and repulsion. Because it has this force it naturally calls out
the virtue of those who take part in the spectacle, and makes impossible
any soft compliance to emotion. Even if we admit that the spectacle of
nakedness is a challenge to passion it is still a challenge that calls
out the ennobling qualities of self-control. It is but a poor sort of
virtue that lies in fleeing into the desert from things that we fear may
have in them a temptation. We have to learn that it is even worse to
attempt to create a desert around us in the midst of civilization. We
cannot dispense with passions if we would; reason, as Holbach said, is the
art of choosing the right passions, and education the art of sowing and
cultivating them in human hearts. The spectacle of nakedness has its moral
value in teaching us to learn to enjoy what we do not possess, a lesson
which is an essential part of the training for any kind of fine social
life. The child has to learn to look at flowers and not pluck them; the
man has to learn to look at a woman's beauty and not desire to possess it.
The joyous conquest over that "erotic kleptomania," as Ellen Key has well
said, reveals the blossoming of a fine civilization. We fancy the conquest
is difficult, even impossibly difficult. But it is not so. This impulse,
like other human impulses, tends under natural conditions to develop
temperately and wholesomely. We artificially press a stupid and brutal
hand on it, and it is driven into the two unnatural extremes of repression
and license, one extreme as foul as the other.

To those who have been bred under bad conditions, it may indeed seem
hopeless to attempt to rise to the level of the Greeks and the other finer
tempered peoples of antiquity in realizing the moral, as well as the
pedagogic, hygienic, and æsthetic advantages[44] of admitting into life
the spectacle of the naked human body. But unless we do we hopelessly
fetter ourselves in our march along the road of civilization, we deprive
ourselves at once of a source of moral strength and of joyous inspiration.
Just as Wesley once asked why the devil should have all the best tunes, so
to-day men are beginning to ask why the human body, the most divine melody
at its finest moments that creation has yielded, should be allowed to
become the perquisite of those who lust for the obscene. And some are,
further, convinced that by enlisting it on the side of purity and strength
they are raising the most powerful of all bulwarks against the invasion of
a vicious conception of life and the consequent degradation of sex. These
are considerations which we cannot longer afford to neglect, however great
the opposition they arouse among the unthinking.

"Folk are afraid of such things rousing the passions," Edward
Carpenter remarks. "No doubt the things may act that way. But
why, we may ask, should people be afraid of rousing passions
which, after all, are the great driving forces of human life?" It
is true, the same writer continues, our conventional moral
formulæ are no longer strong enough to control passion
adequately, and that we are generating steam in a boiler that is
cankered with rust. "The cure is not to cut off the passions, or
to be weakly afraid of them, but to find a new, sound, healthy
engine of general morality and common sense within which they
will work" (Edward Carpenter, _Albany Review_, Sept., 1907).

So far as I am aware, however, it was James Hinton who chiefly
sought to make clear the possibility of a positive morality on
the basis of nakedness, beauty, and sexual influence, regarded as
dynamic forces which, when suppressed, make for corruption and
when wisely used serve to inspire and ennoble life. He worked out
his thoughts on this matter in MSS., written from about 1870 to
his death two years later, which, never having been prepared for
publication, remain in a fragmentary state and have not been
published. I quote a few brief characteristic passages: "Is not,"
he wrote, "the Hindu refusal to see a woman eating strangely like
ours to see one naked? The real sensuality of the thought is
visibly identical.... Suppose, because they are delicious to eat,
pineapples were forbidden to be seen, except in pictures, and
about that there was something dubious. Suppose no one might have
sight of a pineapple unless he were rich enough to purchase one
for his particular eating, the sight and the eating being so
indissolubly joined. What lustfulness would surround them, what
constant pruriency, what stealing!... Miss ---- told us of her
Syrian adventures, and how she went into a wood-carver's shop and
he would not look at her; and how she took up a tool and worked,
till at last he looked, and they both burst out laughing. Will it
not be even so with our looking at women altogether? There will
come a _work_--and at last we shall look up and both burst out
laughing.... When men see truly what is amiss, and act with
reason and forethought in respect to the sexual relations, will
they not insist on the enjoyment of women's beauty by youths, and
from the earliest age, that the first feeling may be of beauty?
Will they not say, 'We must not allow the false purity, we must
have the true.' The false has been tried, and it is not good
enough; the power purely to enjoy beauty must be gained;
attempting to do with less is fatal. Every instructor of youth
shall say: 'This beauty of woman, God's chief work of beauty, it
is good you see it; it is a pleasure that serves good; all beauty
serves it, and above all this, for its office is to make you
pure. Come to it as you come to daily bread, or pure air, or the
cleansing bath: this is pure to you if you be pure, it will aid
you in your effort to be so. But if any of you are impure, and
make of it the feeder of impurity, then you should be ashamed and
pray; it is not for you our life can be ordered; it is for men
and not for beasts.' This must come when men open their eyes, and
act coolly and with reason and forethought, and not in mere panic
in respect to the sexual passion in its moral relations."

FOOTNOTES:

[40] Thus Athenæus (Bk. xiii, Ch. XX) says: "In the Island of Chios it is
a beautiful sight to go to the gymnasia and the race-courses, and to see
the young men wrestling naked with the maidens who are also naked."

[41] Augustine (_De civitate Dei_, lib. ii, cap. XIII) refers to the same
point, contrasting the Romans with the Greeks who honored their actors.

[42] See "The Evolution of Modesty" in the first volume of these
_Studies_, where this question of the relationship of nakedness to modesty
is fully discussed.

[43] C.H. Stratz, _Die Körperformen in Kunst und Leben der Japaner_,
Second edition, Ch. III; id., _Frauenkleidung_, Third edition, pp. 22, 30.

[44] I have not considered it in place here to emphasize the æsthetic
influence of familiarity with nakedness. The most æsthetic nations
(notably the Greeks and the Japanese) have been those that preserved a
certain degree of familiarity with the naked body. "In all arts,"
Maeterlinck remarks, "civilized peoples have approached or departed from
pure beauty according as they approached or departed from the habit of
nakedness." Ungewitter insists on the advantage to the artist of being
able to study the naked body in movement, and it may be worth mentioning
that Fidus (Hugo Höppener), the German artist of to-day who has exerted
great influence by his fresh, powerful and yet reverent delineation of the
naked human form in all its varying aspects, attributes his inspiration
and vision to the fact that, as a pupil of Diefenbach, he was accustomed
with his companions to work naked in the solitudes outside Munich which
they frequented (F. Enzensberger, "Fidus," _Deutsche Kultur_, Aug., 1906).
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Re: Havelock Ellis on nudism

Postby jasenj1 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:12 pm

Great find. Thanks for sharing. Although I'd rather see a link to the original source rather than a giant copy & paste. Since it is so old, I doubt there are copyright issues, though.

I see there are quite a few titles by Havelock Ellis available in Open Library, including the one cited.
https://openlibrary.org/search?q=Havelo ... ltext=true

And here is a link to volume 6 of "Studies in the Psychology of Sex"
Last edited by jasenj1 on Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Havelock Ellis on nudism

Postby Bobby » Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:00 am

Note taken, Jasen. :D
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Re: Havelock Ellis on nudism

Postby jasenj1 » Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:38 am

I really enjoy this type of work. It is a serious, scholarly treatment of nudity. It is well referenced and footnoted. It shows a window onto attitudes toward nudity in the not too distant past. Do I believe Mr. Ellis' view was widely held? No, and I think the work points out that his opinion was not widely held. But it does show that there were people who seriously questioned the dominance of prudery, and the abandonment of nudity.

I enjoy the discussion of nudity for health. Before vaccines and other drugs took over, air & sun baths were a common curative. We went through the skin-cancer paranoia, but are now starting to see a recognition of the need for vitamin D - naturally produced vitamin D.

Thanks again for the great find.
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