The Triumph of Pan: hermaphroditism and sexual inversion in Victor Benjamin Neuburg's poetry

Title: The Triumph of Pan: hermaphroditism and sexual inversion in Victor Benjamin Neuburg's poetry
Author: Valentová, Eva
Source document: Brno studies in English. 2015, vol. 41, iss. 2, pp. [141]-157
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license

Notice: These citations are automatically created and might not follow citation rules properly.

The Greco-Roman god Pan was particularly significant for late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century literature, especially that produced by the Decadent movement in England and abroad. This is not surprising, given the features that Pan shares with the Decadent movement, features that proved oppositional to the moral and social norms that developed during the Christian period. Pan also had special significance for the occult and homoerotic practices that dominated the relationship between the famous magician, occult writer, Decadent poet, and general contrarian Edward Aleister Crowley (1875–1947) and his apprentice in the art of sexual magic, Victor Benjamin Neuburg (1883–1940), who was himself a Decadent poet, one whose memorable collection of poems is entitled The Triumph of Pan (1910). The present paper focuses on the motifs of hermaphroditism and sexual inversion that dominate Neuburg's title-poem "The Triumph of Pan," motifs that appear in two important theories of the period that influenced Neuburg. The first is Crowley's prediction of the age that will overcome the Judeo-Christian period, an age represented by the androgynous Egyptian god Horus, and the second is the concept of the intermediate sex, denoting individuals who possessed both male and female characteristics, advanced by Edward Carpenter (1844–1929), a sex reformer and writer on homosexuality. In both Crowley's and Carpenter's writing reforming attitudes to sex is connected with opposition to organised religion, the Judeo-Christian in particular.
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