The Memoirs of John Addington Symonds

A Critical Edition

  • Amber K. Regis

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

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. Amber K. Regis
    Pages 1-56
  3. The Memoirs of John Addington Symonds

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 57-57
    2. Amber K. Regis
      Pages 59-61
    3. Amber K. Regis
      Pages 361-377
    4. Amber K. Regis
      Pages 379-413
    5. Amber K. Regis
      Pages 463-476
    6. Amber K. Regis
      Pages 513-528
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 529-587

About this book


This edition is the first to reproduce John Addington Symonds’s Memoirs in its entirety. It offers a panoramic view of middle-class Victorian life, shedding light upon sexual cultures and life histories too often hidden from history. Symonds (1840-93) began writing his Memoirs in 1889. It was, he confessed, ‘a foolish thing to do.’ Symonds was a respected man of letters, an historian, translator, essayist and poet; he was also married with children. But rather than unfold a simple tale of public and private achievement, the Memoirs record his struggle to reconcile his homosexuality with these professional and familial identities. His autobiography offers a confessional account of relationships beyond the accepted bounds of nineteenth-century social mores, presenting an alternative case study that contests the legal and medical authorities that would label his desires a crime or disease. Yet being so eloquent on matters of heterodox sexuality, the Memoirs were suppressed. The manuscript survives because Symonds recognised its import, however ‘foolish’: he instructed his literary executor to preserve the text, a duty ultimately discharged by placing the manuscript under embargo in the care of the London Library.


Autobiography Sexuality Homosexuality Victorians Nineteenth century

Editors and affiliations

  • Amber K. Regis
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EnglishUniversity of Sheffield School of EnglishSheffieldUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information