Talk:Uranian poetry

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Etymology of Uranian[edit]

Firstly: Since only two scholarly volumes have ever been written on the Uranians, the fact that the most recent of those volumes discredits the claim that the word "Uranian" derived from Ulrichs is noteworthy and should be given preference. Just because a detail is commonly held does not necessarily make it correct, and one must defer to authority. Even Timothy d'Arch Smith is leery of making this blanket connection between Ulrichs's meaning and that employed by the English Uranians:

The word "Uranian" was chosen because it was much used in the circles in which our poets moved ... I am aware that its founder, Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, author of numerous pamphlets for the recognition of the homosexual, intended a rather different interpretation of the word [than that employed by the English Uranians]. (Love in Earnest, p. xx)

Since thirty-six years separate d'Arch Smith's Love in Earnest from Kaylor's Secreted Desires, and that scholarly materials have been amassed in that period (as well as the fact that d'Arch Smith has, in many ways, lauded Kaylor's scholarship [see the letter reproduced as "Appendix Two", pp. 424-425]), one should probably defer to Kaylor, in this case.

Secondly: I have removed the following description of Ulrichs's use of the myth of the birth of Aphrodite, because it is blatantly incorrect. The following is the way it appeared: "The name is commonly believed to derive from the work of the German theorist and campaigner Karl Heinrich Ulrichs in the 1860s, whose term for the male homosexual was 'Urning', after the god Uranus. In myth Uranus had given birth to Aphrodite without female intervention (she stepped from the foam surrounding his limbs) and was thus the prototype of the self-sufficient male." (as supplied by DuncanHill). Consider the following passage from Kaylor: "In essence, the ‘Uranians’ ... Hellenic appellation derives from both the ‘heavenly’ love described in Plato and the birth of Aphrodite as described in Hesiod" (p. xii). Kaylor further comments in a footnote (pp. xii-xiii):

In Classical Mythology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), Mark P. O. Morford and Robert J. Lenardon write:

Plato’s Symposium [...] claims that Aphrodite Urania, the older of the two, is stronger, more intelligent, and spiritual, whereas Aphrodite Pandemos, born from both sexes, is more base, and devoted primarily to physical satisfaction. It is imperative to understand that the Aphrodite who sprang from Uranus [...] becomes, for philosophy and religion, the celestial goddess of pure and spiritual love and the antithesis of Aphrodite, daughter of Zeus and Dione, the goddess of physical attraction and procreation. This distinction between sacred and profane love is one of the most profound archetypes in the history of civilization. (P.171)

In Theogony, lines 154-210, Hesiod describes the dethronement of Uranus — who is castrated by his son Cronus — and how, from the semen of his severed phallus, Aphrodite Urania is born, a coupling of the deity of the sky with the sea.


Kaylor's claim (in the quotation that was added) seems to accept as obvious that Uranian was not an uncommon word in English in relation to Uranus and Uranian Aphrodite. It can be found as early as Shelley's "Milton's Spirit" (a fragment, first published in Rossetti's edition of the Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley (1870):

I dreamed that Milton's spirit rose, and took
From life's green tree his Uranian lute;
And from his touch sweet thunder flowed, and shook
All human things built in contempt of man,--
And sanguine thrones and impious altars quaked,
Prisons and citadels ...

(Welland_R, 7:11, 23 December 2006)