Saturday, August 29, 2009

Celebrating Two Pioneers

Today is the 184th anniversary of the birth of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (pictured at right), whom academic Les Wright declares, “arguably the first modern theorist of sexual orientation and advocate for equality before the law for sexual minorities.” (For more about this courageous pioneer of the modern gay movement, see last year’s Wild Reed post, Remembering Karl Heinrich Ulrichs.

People all around the world today are celebrating the anniversary of Ulrich’s birth, and I thought I’d do my bit by sharing the music video below and dedicating it to Ulrichs. As you’ll see, this video is composed of a montage of scenes from the 1987 film Maurice – scenes that depict the love between the aristocratic Maurice Hall (played by James Wilby) and gamekeeper Alec Scudder (Rupert Graves). The film is an adaptation of E. M. Forster’s novel of the same name.

Of this landmark novel Wikipedia notes:

A tale of homosexual love in early 20th century England, it follows Maurice Hall from his schooldays, through university and beyond. It was written from 1913 onwards. Although it was shown to selected friends, such as Christopher Isherwood, it was only published in 1971 after Forster’s death.

The novel is remarkable for its time in describing same-sex love in a non-condemnatory way. Forster resisted publication because of public and legal attitudes to homosexuality — a note found on the manuscript read: “Publishable, but worth it?” Forster was particularly keen that his novel should have a happy ending, but knew that this would make the book too controversial. However, by the time he died, British attitudes and law had changed.

I’m sure you’d agree that both Karl Heinrich Ulrichs and E. M. Forster (pictured at right) were pioneers in their own ways.

All the more reason, then, to share on this 184th anniversary of Ulrichs’ birth, the following video that celebrates those scenes from the film version of Forster’s novel that beautifully depict the love that is possible between two men. Enjoy!

Note: This music video was created by Muttzrock777. The song featured is “Perfect” by PJ and Duncan (aka Ant and Dec).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Remembering Karl Heinrich Ulrichs
A Simple Yet Radical Act

Recommended Off-site Links:
A review by Les Wright of Hubert Kennedy’s Karl Heinrich Ulrichs: Pioneer of the Modern Gay Movement.
Karl Heinrich Ulrichs: An Early Advocate of Peace and Equality - Hubert Kennedy.
A website dedicated to Karl Heinrich Ulrichs and to various efforts that keep his memory alive.
Karl Heinrich Ulrichs’ entry in the Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture.
Karl Heinrich Ulrichs T-shirt!

Musical artists previously featured at The Wild Reed”:
Cass Elliot, The Church, Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield, Wall of Voodoo, Stephen “Tin Tin” Duffy, Pink Floyd, Kate Ceberano, Judith Durham, Wendy Matthews, Buffy Sainte-Marie, 1927, Mavis Staples, Maxwell, Joan Baez, Tee Set, Darren Hayes, Wet, Wet, Wet, Engelbert Humperdinck, The Cruel Sea, Shirley Bassey, Loretta Lynn & Jack White, Maria Callas, Foo Fighters, Jenny Morris, Scissor Sisters, Kate Bush, Rufus Wainwright, and Dusty Springfield.

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