1844 – 1929
Who was Edward Carpenter?
A leading figure in late 19th- and early 20th-century Britain, he was instrumental in the foundation of the Fabian Society and the Labour Party. A poet and writer, he was a close friend of Rabindranath Tagore, and both friend and lover of Walt Whitman. He corresponded with many famous figures such as Annie Besant, Isadora Duncan, Havelock Ellis, Roger Fry, Mahatma Gandhi, James Keir Hardie, J. K. Kinney, Jack London, George Merrill, E D Morel, William Morris, E R Pease, John Ruskin, and Olive Schreiner.
As a philosopher he is particularly known for his publication of Civilisation, Its Cause and Cure in which he proposes that civilisation is a form of disease that human societies pass through. Civilisations, he says, rarely last more than a thousand years before collapsing, and no society has ever passed through civilisation successfully. His 'cure' is a closer association with the land and greater development of our inner nature.
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