A Year in Arcadia: Kyllenion

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A Year in Arcadia: Kyllenion
Kyllenion (1805) Duke-August.jpg
AuthorAugustus, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
Original titleEin Jahr in Arkadien: Kyllenion
PublisherFrommann and Wesselhöft
Publication date
Media typePrint

A Year in Arcadia: Kyllenion (German: Ein Jahr in Arkadien: Kyllenion) is an 1805 novel by Augustus, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg.[1][2] It is notable as "the earliest known novel that centers on an explicitly male-male love affair".[3]


A Year in Arcadia is structured as a set of idylls, one for each month of the Attic calendar. Set in ancient Greece, it features several couples—including a homosexual one—falling in love,[4] overcoming obstacles and living happily ever after. The Romantic movement gaining momentum at the end of the 18th century allowed men to "express deep affection for each other", and the motif of ancient Greece as "a utopia of male-male love" was an acceptable vehicle to reflect this, but some of Duke August's contemporaries felt that his characters "stepped over the bounds of manly affection into unseemly eroticism."[5]

Duke August was the maternal grandfather of Albert, Prince Consort of Queen Victoria, and is an ancestor of Elizabeth II.[4]

The Frankfurt University Library at Goethe University Frankfurt has an original copy of Ein Jahr in Arkadien in its Library of Arthur Schopenhauer Collection. The volume is 124 pages, with ΚΥΛΛΗΝΙΩΝ in Greek script facing the title page, and front and rear illustrations.[6]


  1. ^ "Obituary: The Duke of Saxe Gotha". The Gentleman's Magazine (January—June 1822). 92. London: John Nichols and Son. 1822. p. 641. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  2. ^ "Obituary: The Duke of Saxe Gotha". The Inquirer (1822). 1. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown. 1822. p. 285. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  3. ^ Haggerty, George; Zimmerman, Bonnie, eds. (2000). "German Literature". Encyclopedia of Lesbian and Gay Histories and Cultures. p. 612. ISBN 0-815-34055-9. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  4. ^ a b Béeche, Arturo E., The Coburgs of Europe, Eurohistory, 2013, pp. 19, 354. ISBN 978-0-9854603-3-4
  5. ^ Jones, James W. "German and Austrian Literature: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries". glbtq.com. Archived from the original on 7 October 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Erotic Poetry of a reigning prince from the library of Arthur Schopenhauer (Translated from German)". Frankfurt University Library/Goethe University Frankfurt. Retrieved 4 February 2015.