© 2020

The Correspondence of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, 1846-1894


Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. Douglas Ogilvy Pretsell
    Pages 1-43
  3. The

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 45-46
    2. Douglas Ogilvy Pretsell
      Pages 47-140
    3. Douglas Ogilvy Pretsell
      Pages 141-227
    4. Douglas Ogilvy Pretsell
      Pages 229-262
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 263-269

About this book


This book will be the first critical edition of all the surviving correspondence to, from and about Karl Heinrich Ulrichs between 1846 and 1894. Ulrichs, a former Hanoverian lawyer, was the first to articulate a personal identity of sexuality that defined individuals by their sexual object. This articulation of sexual modernist identities is Ulrichs’ abiding legacy to the world. He wrote twelve short books between 1864 and 1879, arguing for the removal of laws and prejudice against 'urnings' and articulating a scientific theory that placed them as a third gender. He is a foundational figure in the history of sexuality, yet there has never been an edition of his complete correspondence in either English or the original German. 

The correspondence between the years of 1846 and 1894 covers three definable periods: the years before Ulrichs began writing (1846-1864); the years between which all his principle works, his lobbying and all his activism took place (1865-1879); and his final years in exile (1880-1895). The analysis will contend that the correspondence reveals that Ulrichs’ project was not just a lonely campaign against legal prohibition of the 'hydra of public contempt', but instead was part of a far wider campaign of community-led self-definition that was actively promoted at home and abroad. 


homosexuality Sexology nineteenth century modernism queer history

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.La Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

About the authors

Douglas Pretsell is a researcher in the Department of History at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia, where his focus is on the correspondence of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825-1895). With previous research experience in Psychology and Neuroscience, Douglas brings a
fresh perspective to a man who was to influence the very earliest sexual science in Germany.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The Correspondence of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, 1846-1894
  • Authors Douglas Ogilvy Pretsell
  • Series Title Genders and Sexualities in History
  • Series Abbreviated Title Genders and Sexualities in History
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-39762-3
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-39765-4
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-39763-0
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XXI, 269
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Cultural History
    History of Germany and Central Europe
    Gender and Sexuality
    History of Modern Europe
    Social History
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