Sexuality in Post-Risorgimento Italy and Victorian Britain

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


The list of international contributors to the pioneering Italian sexological journal Archivio delle psicopatie sessuali featured, amongst others, the British sexologist Ellis and the Franco-Russian poet and journalist Marc-André Raffalovich.1 Raffalovich had moved to Britain in the 1880s and, although he was not medically trained, he began writing on sexual inversion soon after. Unlike his literary works, which were written in English and printed in his new country, his material on sexology was never published in Britain. Rather, it had been published in French in the Archives de l’Anthropologie Criminelle [Archives of Criminal Anthropology] since the early 1890s, and in a monograph, Uranisme et Unisexualité [Uranism and Unisexuality], in 1895. In this monograph he argued that male sexual inverts who maintained their masculine characteristics were normal rather than diseased individuals; while it has never been translated into English, Uranisme et Unisexualité was promptly translated into Italian and reviewed in medical journals.2 In 1896 he published an article in the Archivio delle psicopatie sessuali about the current state of research on psychopathologies in England. Raffalovich lamented how difficult it was to write about such a subject in Britain, and castigated the British medical community for the backwardness of its research on same-sex desires. Raffalovich denounced the hypocrisy of British physicians when handling sexual matters.


Sexual Matter Venereal Disease Homosexual Behaviour Sexual Knowledge Medical Writer 
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Copyright information

© Chiara Beccalossi 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chiara Beccalossi
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for the History of European DiscoursesUniversity of QueenslandAustralia

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