Francis Bacon and the Evolution of Early Modern Homophobia

Author: Chuck Griffith

The term Homophobia is less than one hundred years old.[1] Before that, distaste for homosexual behavior was cloaked within the vernacular of Early Modern England, especially 17th century London, by terms such as "buggery" and "sodomy." By the early 18th century, men who exclusively had sex with men were deemed "he-whores."[2] Francis Bacon, the father of the scientific method and very much a man ahead of his time in many ways, nevertheless shows that he believed "masculine love" to be an "unlawful threat" in The New Atlantis (written in 1610-14 and published in 1623). In other words, this inspiring hero of the Royal Society would keep anything feminine, or effeminate, at arm's length.

His written protestations against homosexuality were not evident in his real life, however. Despite the fact that his public career ended in disgrace in 1621,[3] Bacon's writings went on to influence the Royal Society and their expansion of the scientific method into an experimental philosophy that is still practiced today in modern medicine around the world. In 1667, forty-one years after Bacon, the founder of the scientific method and the English essay, was eulogized by one of his apprentices who claimed that his "bounty transcends a father's natural love"[4], Thomas Sprat, a historian of the Royal Society, would credit Bacon and his "noble labours in that philosophy by a vast treasure of admirable imaginations" as someone of "new philosophy" greater than that of the Greeks.[5]

Within four decades, Bacon went from victim of his own "masculine love" to grand lord of a society that shifted philosophy's methodology both physically and temporally. The Royal Society all but eradicated the Socratic method by not only deeming it "the wit of the fables and religions of the ancient world"[5] that only serves poets and imperfection, but the physical place philosophy would be that of an "English tongue, that as it contains a greater stock of natural and mechanical discoveries."[5] This transformation from relying on antiquated fables to things more grounded in nature and tangibles, such as Sprat's "mechanical," was the dawn of homophobia. Well before "homosexual" would be used in everyday language as it pertains to rights and equality for a minority of individuals whom love members of their own sex, European leaders were criminalizing homosexual relationships.

In a statement that would solidify sodomy's legal destiny, William Blackstone, chief magistrate to England from 1765 to 1769 and, arguably, the most influencial writer of laws for England and America, wrote in Commentaries on the Laws of England, "[sodomy is] so dark a nature that the accusation if false deserves a punishment inferior only to the crime itself … I will not act so disagreeable a part, to my readers as well as myself, as to dwell any longer on the subject, the very mention of which is a disgrace to human nature."[6]
If, in this case, nature is a product of God as described above, then man, being of nature, is of God. Added Balckstone, "This [offense is] the voice of nature and of reason and the express law of God, determine to be capital. Of which we have a signal instance, long before the Jewish dispensation [that is, Leviticus] by the destruction of two cities by fire from heaven, so that this is an universal, no merely a provincial, precept."13 His use of "capital" elevates the offense of sodomy to the highest order and the "human nature" links back to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Sodom and Gomorrah's peril is identified by fire, a natural element, but the fire is sent by heaven. The line between fable—a story passed down over presumably thousands of years and not an eyewitness to be found—and a naturally occurring event is blurred.
In his introduction of natural laws, Blackstonewrites in Commentaries, "Our laws, faith [be to] lord Bacon, are mixed as our language: and as our language is so much the richer, the laws are the more complete."
However, before Blackstone, there was Thomas Hobbes, whom was reportedly a good friend of Bacon's.[7] However, it would not be until after the publication of The New Atlantis that Hobbes created Leviathan [8], which establishes the foundation for most of Western political philosophy and explains that natural law was divine because God created nature [9]. Laws that were natural and unnatural would be the mortar of Bacon's utopian college as described in The New Atlantis:

    • We call Solomon's House, the noblest foundation, as we think, that ever was upon the earth, and the lantern of this kingdom. It is dedicated to the study of the works and creatures of God … for we have some parts of his works which with you are lost; namely, that natural history which he wrote of all plants, from the cedar of Libanus to the moss that groweth out of the wall; and of all things that have life and motion … whereby God might have the more glory in the workmanship of them, and men the more fruit in their use of them, did give it also that second name.[10]
The institution of Solomon's House is one where God's workmanship is in the natural and man's categorization of that nature is a dedication to that workmanship. The scientific component is a complement to God in that Bacon is using generalizations like "cedar" and "moss," but the purpose of the "lantern" of Solomon's House in that man studies the common and finds "more glory" within. The Latin terminology for plants, such as cedrus atlantica, cedrus brevifolia, cedrus deodara, in a botanist's lab today is equivalent to man's "second name."
The implicit symbolism of Sodom and Gomorrah exists later in Atlantis:

    • We took ourselves now for freemen, seeing there was no danger of our utter perdition, and lived most joyfully, going abroad and seeing what was to be seen in the city and places adjacent, within our tedder; and obtaining acquaintance with many of the city, not of the meanest quality, at whose hands we found such humanity, and such a freedom and desire to take strangers, as it were, into their bosom, as was enough to make us forget all that was dear to us in our own countries, and continually we met with many things, right worthy of observation and relation.[11]
The expansion of discovery is in being free and not being in "danger" along man's "perdition." Whether he abide in cities nearby or afar, Bacon's utopian male must see those places where strangers take him "into their bosom" and "make [man] forget" his homeland because he is so welcomed there. In Bacon's Atlantis, Sodom and Gomorrah are set up as the antithesis as such a place. In Ezekiel, the writer recounts the tale of two angelic strangers being raped by the entire village[7]. There is also a metaphor in one being a disciple in traveling to outside cities. Arguably, the avoidance of hostility or places "of the meanest" quality is an incantation of Sodom and Gomorrah:

    • There, if any be subject to vice, or take ill-courses, they are reproved and censured. … The governor sitteth to the end, to put in execution, by his public authority, the decrees and orders of the Tirsan, if they should be disobeyed, though that seldom needeth; such reverence and obedience they give to the order of nature […] And because propagation of families proceedeth from the nuptial copulation.[12]
The case against sodomy within The New Atlantis begins here before his explicit mention of "masculine love" later in the text. To be obedient in the Baconian sense is to propagate families through "nuptial copulation" and the avoidance of "vice" will protect man from execution in Bacon's utopia.
Since same-sex behavior cannot biologically produce children, nor could it promote families in the traditional sense, this lack of obedience would be of "distress" to families and punishable by death, which ultimately would become the prevailing sentiment by the time of Magistrate Blackstone.
Bacon bonds the two concepts of "human nature" and "marriage" to each other because he desired to distance his scientific method from the notorious pederasty of the Greeks. While this distancing is implicit in the passages preceding the term "masculine love," the role of sodomy is a chief concern to Bacon, a man who had no children of his own and a brother who also was charged with the same sodomy crimes of which he was found guilty.[10] As for the explicit indictment against pederasty, Bacon is clear:

    • As for masculine love, they have no touch of it; and yet there are not so faithful and inviolate friendships in the world again as are there; and to speak generally, (as I said before,) I have not read of any such chastity, in any people as theirs. And their usual saying is, That whosoever is unchaste cannot reverence himself; and they say, That the reverence of a man's self, is, next to religion, the chiefest bridle of all vices.[7]
While scholars of the 1990s such as Joseph Cady, Charles Forker, and Jonathan Goldberg have identified Bacon's use of "masculine love" as a way to decry the ills of same-sex behavior and a veiled insult hurled at Europe's "foulness,"[12] the case against sodomy was well-established prior to the wide use of the term. Bacon connects "copulation" by women in order to proliferate knowledge already before using "masculine love" as something to describe sodomy. In the seven occasions that Bacon uses the phrase "love" within Atlantis, none of them are in sexual context. The term reveals itself when speaking to of God's love or man's love for God. The "masculine love" represents man's penis and chastity with the self in a way that no good seed goes without a womb. Love's construct is not mentioned with any of women throughout The New Atlantis. If Bacon had wanted to call it "sodomy," he would have had enough natural precedent within this text to do so by the reasons already mentioned. Sodomy, by its definition, is an act not founded on love, because it refers to an act of rape. If "masculine love" were to have meaning in a man loving another man (rather than a teenaged boy), then it would have to be deemed a natural phenomenon for a man to want to have sex with another man based on human nature.
The self-sodomizing act of masturbation and the mutual-sodomy act between men are acts that waste seeds in either case of "masculine love." The use of "friendship" is in relation to "there", meaning Bensalem. These friendships are "inviolate", meaning that they cannot be broken. Cady argues that "masculine love" is connected to "friendship" since the two words are within a two-part sentence structure and as a caveat to "masculine love" since this would imply that even though the men do not love each other, they have a "faithful friendship".[12]
To that which is unnatural, Bacon advises "to avoid greater evils … deflowering of virgins, unnatural lust, and the like."[7] Buggery, rape, and bestiality are English society's de facto attributes to "unnatural lust."[13] To identify sodomy through "masculine love" is redundant to what Bacon has already stated, whether indirectly or not. To "touch it" means that "it" is of tangible quality, and a man loving another grown man is not a concept that existed in the 17th century. The homosexual practice of the Greeks was pederasty, where Greeks men (and Roman men) engaged in sex with young men apprentices or students[14].
Randolph Trumbach writes that in the 1600s "to be masculine was to experience the sexual desire only for women."[2] Young men would mature with the help of their mentors and marry, something that Bacon himself had done with his apprentices. Trumbach explains:

    • [In] all human societies other than those under the influence of Christian religion, it has been legitimate for two males to have sexual relations with each other. There have been only two restrictions: that the adult men who had sexual relations with males also marry women and produce families; that the adult male in the sexual act always take the active or penetrator's role … [Christian Europe] had since the twelfth century made illicit all sexual relations between two persons of the same gender.[2]
The fornication of same-sex partners would not be a consideration of love, nor would be deemed masculine for both parties, since the conventional wisdom was that the active male would maintain his masculinity over the passive male whom would be perceived as less manly. This perception so dominated English society that it drove homosexual young men to prostitution, transvestitism, or at the least, to take on effeminate mannerisms[15].
Masturbation, in contrast, is of little consequence to the ancient Greeks and the Romans[16]. Given that the term "masculine love" is used by character in Atlantis, Joabin, who is a Jew and a merchant, says, "there is not under the heavens so chaste a nation as this of Bensalem"[7]; this is a forewarning from the book of Genesis. According to Jewish law, wasted semen was against the Torah and punishable by death from God:

    • And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and her, raise up seed to thy brother. And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also[17].
The wasted seed, a product of masturbation considered by many religions still today, and was quite widely discouraged at the time of the publication of Atlantis[18]. God enforces the obedience of men to the laws of nature. God's execution of Onan illustrates the subjugation of a man who wastes his seed, whether in an act of sodomy or masturbation (both of which are condemned by Paul in 1 Corinthians)[18]. Joabin makes "chastity" synonymous with Bensalem before he warns of "masculine love." The chaste man is "more fair and admirable," according to Joabin (and Bacon). It is in this that Bacon reveals his disdain for the cultures of Europe. In comparison to Bensalem, Europe is analogous with "pollution and foulness" and "where sin is turned into art." Bacon saw the foulness with his own eyes, having served as English ambassador to the French crown of Henri III from 1576 to 1579. In this passage, Bacon alludes to Paris, a city infamously congested with sewage, people, and "courtesans" by the 17th century[19]. The art of the Renaissance and artists such as Michelangelo is Bacon's jab at the Italians[20]. Words like sodomy, chastity, and nuptial relations result in offspring already presented to the reader before Joabin's reference to "masculine love"; therefore, the only explicit nature of term is within the following text, which is a "reverences of one's self...that is a bridle (offense) to vices, second to that of religion."[7] In other words, the retention of man's own seed and his chaste mind is free from vice and remains of natural ordinance. There is no "art of sinful perversion" to distract him, no whores to encourage his lust, and no young men to threaten his masculinity.
From Sodom and Gomorrah to Onan's fate, Joabin's allusions are all references to stories within the book of Genesis, further illustrating Bacon's attempt to create his own Genesis. For with every man empowered by the King's Solomon House, his mission will be to "only to give us knowledge."[7] Bacon's mission is to align Christian ideals with science; he faced a problem because English society, as a whole, was very wary of the early implications of science, fearing that scientists were trying to uncover and dissect God's wonders[21]. Bacon's vision was to create a rebirth of mankind and his creation by making men only second to God; "The restitution and reinvesting of man to the sovereignty and power … which he had in his first state of creation," writes J.M. Robertson, as editor of The Philosophical Works of Francis Bacon.[22]
In this last day of journey within Bensalem, the king reveals the true inventions of Solomon's House, "For I will impart unto thee, for the love of God and men, a relation of the true state of Solomon's House … God bless thee, my son; and God bless this relation, which I have made. I give thee leave to publish it for the good of other nations; for we here are in God's bosom, a land unknown."[7]
Bacon's manufactured genesis begins with a redefined love that is of one gender: men. "God's bosom" is for the man, or "son." Whereas God had lost Adam after he had eaten the forbidden fruit of knowledge (taking the fruit from Eve) in Genesis, The New Atlantis paved the way for knowledge to be a kinship that would be closer to God than any man before him. However, it would be up to Bacon's disciples of the scientific method to ensure that they were man enough to keep each other at the bosom of God, or they, too, would be considered against "human nature" by Early Modern society.
Historian Joan Scott writes, "The principle of masculinity rests on the necessary repression of feminine aspects…Repressed desires are present in the unconscious and are constantly a threat to the stability of gender identification"[23]. Masculinity is a theme within the early modern works of the Royal Society, second only to science itself. While Bacon defined that man should be one that is chaste, devoid of "foulness", and able to have several descendants from his seed, the Royal Society would extend that definition into the thread of what the scientific method stood for in presenting itself to the public.
Scott's principle is applicable to even the earliest writings by the Royal Society. The "repression of feminine aspects" do not only work to keep women out of the society for over two hundred years, but it is all things "feminine" that is sought to be ignored completely[24]. This included sodomites, but to be thought of a sodomite would more about being the passive or receptive partner in male-to-male sexual intercourse. The "repressed desires" that are presented in the Royal Society "unconscious" writings codes a homoerotic undertone that exposes the same threat that Bacon felt when he sought to distance himself from communities of pederasty such as the Greeks and Romans. The additional dilemma, after Bacon's death and posthumous adulation as the father of the scientific method, was that their exalted lord had been a known pederast.
However, since the Royal Society had successfully polished Bacon's historical record through Thomas Sprat's Histories by 1667, the trial of Captain Rigby in 1698 is cited by historian Randolph Trumbach as something that impacted England's social perception of connecting sodomy to effeminate behavior:

    • Rigby was a beau who attempted to seduce a boy he had met in the park. One of his critics blamed his actions on his "effeminate madness" as a fop, though the critic presumed that as a fop he was still interested in women as well, since he "manages his whore." This is one of the very earliest attempts to tie effeminacy to sodomy, and it was clearly inspired by the elaborate way Rigby dressed.[2]
Sodomy and the effeminate male, thought of as either young men who used their feminine features or mannerisms to attract adult males or an adult male who were obsessed with the behavior of women, was considered mutually exclusive prior to Rigby's trial[2]. Rigby's active role is insinuated by managing "his whore" and, thusly, Rigby was not exclusive to men. It was the "effeminate madness" as an explanation for his same-sex desires. Though Rigby would cite the pox plague, a venereal disease raging rampant during the time, as his motive, "When the boy had complained that ‘a woman only was fit' to raise a man's lust to the highest degree (as Rigby said the boy had done for him), Rigby replied that the women were all diseased: ‘D_mn 'em[sic], they are all pox'd, I'll have nothing to do with them.'"
Kevin Siena writes that, by 1590, people thought sexual intercourse with women, especially prostitutes, who would be the cause of the pox plague (debated now as syphilis)[25]. By that time, however, a man claiming same-sex fornication within his sexual history would be suicidal to his reputation, and, consequently, the dangers in male-to-male sexual intercourse went unspoken.
In 1710, as Traumbach points out, sex with men, as an active partner, was the only way an early modern john could have any sexual relation at all, "…according to John Dunton in 1710, followed a similar course: Prostitutes had ‘burnt so many beaus [johns], that now he-whores are coming in use.' These men were to him, however, ‘a new society . . .call'd S_d ites[sic]; men worse than goats, who dressed themselves in petticoats.'"
Within the window of time that the venereal plague dominated England, Bacon had written two works that are often cited by contemporary scholars, including as Jan Golinski and Evelyn Fox Keller, as chauvinistic in their nature—The Masculine Birth of Time (1603) and The New Atlantis.
In The Masculine Birth of Time, Bacon's fears of women were of their impact on the posterity of men:

    • All concur that truth is the daughter of Time. How pusillanimous then, to grovel before authors but to allow to Time, the author of authors and of all authority, less than his due! Nor were his hopes drawn only from the universal character of Time, but from the special prerogative of our own age … so as if a man should begin the labour of a new search he were but like to light upon somewhat formerly rejected, and by rejection brought into oblivion.[26]
Bacon speaks of authors being under the authority of Time, who in this case is "the author of authors" and a he ("his due") implying that Time is synonymous with God. The "hopes" of an author is drawn by Time's "universal character," meaning the forward motion of time passing, and man, as an author in Bacon's view, has a "prerogative" to write truths before time ends, as suggested in "of our own age." Biblical creation resulted in Adam's alienation from God and in Bacon's own "Genesis" would not isolate the men of natural philosophy because now they were simply "daughters", or women, and are subjugated to a third position—God, author, truth; or rather, Time, man, women. Keller writes, to paraphrase, that Bacon was asking men to submit to God in a way as to not be distracted by impurities and a "hermaphroditic" mind[27]. She also states that Bacon and other scientists knew of the "bisexual implications."[27] However, the concept of bisexuality was not in any vernacular of early modern Europe[28]. Back then, if one was considered a hermaphrodite medical professionals would decide the baby's sex, after which the baby would be christened a boy or a girl, and be expected to only fornicate with the opposite sex.[29]
Alternatively, Bacon's fear of femininity is rooted in sexuality by disease and Scripture combined. If the mortality rate of men increased due to illegitimate sex, such as the pox plague, then this must contribute to Bacon's prejudices towards women; the plague served as a catalyst of Biblical porportions since God, in Baconian terms, punishes anyone who has sex outside of nuptial-sanctioned propagation in any form—masturbation (self-sodomy), homosexual, rape (sodomy), or prostitution (lustful).
In The Care of One's Self and the Masculine Birth of Science, Golinski introduces her expansion on Keller's writing with:

    • Francis Bacon's phrase "the masculine birth of time," the title of a fragmentary essay … was held up as symptomatic of a male desire to subdue a female nature. Bacon was exposed as a prophet of the misogynist ideology that had ruled science since his time, a destructive philosophy responsible for oppression of women and depredations of the natural environment.[24]
The parallel of what Golinski writes as "his time" and Bacon's "universal character of Time" is offering ownership of time to Bacon and man. To do anything else, as a man, would be contemptuous, "pusillanimous" to God. "
Golinski, while conceding that Bacon influenced the subduing of the female role in science, she also credits Bacon as the impetus of this marginalization within science with "his time." Bacon explicitly states that it is man's labor, as a part of what is now the scientific method, that determines gender between daughter and author. If truths are women, then these truths exist only for men's posterity. Truths are found with each man's new search and with the masculine ideal of labor. A man's "discovered truth" can also be rejected as a fallacy if it were proven wrong by a fellow man through his labor. However, this labor, by the author, must be documented; or, Bacon warns, "he were but like to light upon somewhat formerly rejected, and by rejection brought into oblivion." The fate of the woman ("truth"), is in control of not one man, but of men. Bacon's women personify "truth", which is deemed worthy of "new light" or, in the alternative, "oblivion."
This Baconian order of constitutes "truth", which must be found by men, crystalizes Golinski's viewpoint. Golinski concludes her article, "Having denied themselves marriage and natural offspring …'The masculine birth' of early modern science had as one of its preconditions the meticulous care of the self of these bachelors of science." The subtext to his title, Masculine Birth of Time, takes women out of the active role of needing to give birth to anything but man's "labour". With the women in The New Atlantis, the sentiment is that they only create desire and passion, resulting in "foulness" and disease.
Keller and Golinski's equation for Bacon's anti-feminine views is that he wanted to foster dispairity between the feminine side of men and science--protection makes "pure", and purity makes masculinity. Keller's point on Bacon's bisexuality is moot, because The Masculine Birth of Time creates Bacon's own monk of science: a eunuch. Whereas, if man's mind was the least bit hermaphroditic, Bacon makes it predetermined by natural law throughout his writings.
Cady, professor of medicine and gay and lesbian literature, in the same article about "masculine love" says, "[In The New Atlantis,] the fact that a culture's laws do not differentiate a discrete homosexuality does not mean that that culture has no awareness and language for homosexuality."[12] Based on the assumption that Renaissance England had an awareness of homosexuality, even before the term was around, then it would have homophobia, too. Perceived as a behavior of the outside world, pederasty and homosexuality would be England's pursuit—initiated by Bacon—in establishing itself as the new epicenter, or Eden, of new thinking.
To not be chaste and to only avoid women would mean men being sexually active with one's self or another man. Both options emulate Greek and Roman philosophers and their sexual histories; in turn, the exact opposite of what Bacon wanted to accomplish in establishing a new philosophy, the natural philosophy and the scientific method. To be anyting like the Greeks, would threaten Bacon's methods as an ethereal philosophy that birthed no tangibly documented debate.
The threat of the nature vs. nurture was perculating long before Sigmund Freud or B.F. Skinner. With his dislike of war and hunting fueling rumors of his effeminate personality, Henri III, to whom Bacon served in the French Court, was an ineffective leader of any action.[30] In Tudor-Stuart drama, Native Americans of the New World were depicted as effeminate sodomites on the Elizabethan stage.[10] Meanwhile in Italy, Girolamo Cardano was making connections between same-sex behavior and nature in 1547 by linking sexuality to astrology and the position of the planets; he went as far to say that his findings would "cure" sodomites and prostitutes[31]. In Bologna, Cocles (Bartolommeo della Rocca) published early physiologist studies in 1504 that connected a sexual taste for the same gender as natural as hair color or lines on the hand.[32]
The last two have the heaviest implications. With Cardano, he ties the position of the planets, something of God's creation, to a quantifiable scale of masculine (Mars) and feminine (Venus); this is an early indication of the discourse developing on the continent. Not only do Cardano's discoveries suggests that when a person is born his or her gender would be determined by the position of the planets, but he also pronounces cures for this, albeit not of medicinal methods.[32]
In Cocles's hypothesis and observations, he writes, "I see that such people have soft flesh, fine throats, effeminate and often slender legs, large soft ankles, pale faces, and quarrelsome dispositions, and many other signs…[such] passion in many…40, 50, 60, 65, and 70 years old."[32]
These findings have a prescient proposition in that the former is reminiscent of modern gay stereotypes and the latter in that one does not mature into a desire for the opposite sex, but are born with that predisposition. Cocles and Cardano correlate effeminate behavior and being the passive, receptive partner.
This momentum, pre-dating the scientific method, is extinguished by Bacon's vision for a male-centric society that perpetuates chauvinism and, what will one day become, homophobia. Since effeminate men were considered purveyors of sodomy (a word that in itself has deviant undertones as it is a Bibical and self-referential tale fall of a civilization), The New Atlantis highlights the defining elements of a heterosexual male that has many sons. The sons of knowledge keeps a chaste mind and serve as suns on God's truths. Effeminate men, on the other hand, have no place in Solomon's House because they do not live up to these ideals, thus subjugating them to that role of women.
About sixty years after Bacon's death, John Aubrey, 17th Century biographer and member of the Royal Society, labeled Bacon as a "pederast" in Brief Lives, ironically with Greek lettering in order to censor it from the masses (and perhaps with a flippant sense of humor).[33]
In pursuing a philosophy around natural laws, perhaps Bacon should count his blessings that he was able to live to see The New Atlantis published in 1626; by 1533, sodomy was punishable by death.
As MacBeathian as it may be, the overabundance of forced masculinity within the literature of Bacon results in an internalized homophobia that would go on to inspire Blackstone and others to fuel laws against a minority and justifies killing, condemning, and alienating them for centuries thereafter. Bacon's emphasis on procreation would go on to have a profound influence within The Royal Society. The all-male organization, which claimed Bacon as its father, would keep its chauvinistic themes lead a wave of fear-mongering among English society. Sodomy became England's scapegoat for the "pox plague" and demonized hermaphrodites as monsters as noted in the mid-1700's by Royal Society physician James Douglas, who later theorized that it was a controllable "one-time" event along with other unnatural occurrences. [29]
A decade after Douglas, John Locke, philosopher of the Enlightenment era and also a Royal Society member, wrote that sodomy was a result of conceding to the impulse of the individual, which altered public beliefs that sodomites were the Devil's product. The ramifications of Locke's theory meant that a man could choose whether or not to do something "unnatural."[4]
Jeremy Bentham, years before he created the philosophy of utilitarianism and published articles arguing for an equal society made by positive laws that expand rights and not limit them by using nature as a determinate legal factor, wrote Offences Against One's Self in a renunciation of Blackstone's Commentaries treatise. However, Bentham did not publish the manuscript that argues the case for decriminalizing homosexuals in fear of recrimination for sympathy to those damned by society for having same sex "tastes".[6] Bentham's article, finally published in the Journal of Homosexuality (1978), would have added essential disention of homosexual rights in the Era of Enlightenment if it had been published when it was written (1785).
Indeed, had Bacon been caught with the "masculine love" he so hypocritically denounced, he would have been "brought to oblivion" along with one the most important contribution to Western discourse: the scientific method.


  1. "Homophobia: fear of men, or aversion towards the male sex; also, fear of mankind, anthropophobia." 1920 Chambers's Jrnl. 5 June 418/1 Oxford English Dictionary, 1993
  2. Trumbach, Randolph "The birth of the queen: Sodomy and the emergence of gender equality in modern culture, 1660-1750", in Duberman et al., Hidden from History (1989), pp. 129-40.
  3. Jardine, Lisa; Stewart, Alan Hostage "To Fortune: The Troubled Life of Francis Bacon" Hill & Wang, 1999. pp 148, 464.
  4. Dean, Carolyn. The Frail Social Body. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. p. 25
  5. Thomas Sprat, History of the Royal Society, Part II. 1667.
  6. Griffith, Chuck "The Hidden Works of Bentham and Homosexual Positive Laws" 2009.
  7. Bacon, Francis. "The New Atlantis" (Written in 1626.) From Ideal Commonwealths, P.F. Collier & Son, New York. 1901
  8. http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/philosophers/bacon.html
  9. "Hobbes's Moral and Political Philosophy." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 21 May 2009 .
  10. Crompton, Louis. "Homosexuality and Civilization", p. 535
  11. "Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, surfeit of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them, when I saw it." (Ezek 16:49-50, RSV2)
  12. Cady, Joseph (1992) "‘Masculine Love': Renaissance Writing, and the New Invention of Homosexuality". Journal of Homosexuality, 23:1,9 — 40
  13. Bray, Alan. p. 41, "Homosexuality and the Signs of Male Friendship", Queering the Renaissance, Jonathan Goldberg, Editor. Duke University Press, 1994.
  14. Holland, Philemon, Plutarch's Philosophie, commonlie called, the Morals tr. 1603 (1657)
  15. Jardine, Lisa; Stewart, Alan Hostage "To Fortune: The Troubled Life of Francis Bacon" Hill & Wang, 1999. pp 522-523
  16. Ellis, Havelock, p.198 The Evolution of Modesty: The Phenomena of Sexual Periodicity; Autoerotism, Published by F.A.Davis Co., 1900
  17. Genesis 38:7-10 (KJV)
  18. Stengers, Jean, and Anne Neck. pp. 21-22 Masturbation. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001.
  19. "Moving West: Three French Queens and the Urban History of Paris", William O. Goode, The French Review, Vol. 73, No. 6 (May, 2000), pp. 1116-1129
  20. Forker, Charles. "Masculine Love, Renaissance Writing, and the New Invention of Homosexuality"
  21. Keller, Evelyn Fox. pp. 33, "Baconian Science" Reflections on Gender and Science, Yale University Press, 1995.
  22. Bacon, Francis et.al. p. 188 The Philosophical Works of Francis Bacon. Freeport: Books for Libraries Press, 1970.
  23. Scott, Joan. p.38-39, Gender and the politics of history, New York, 1988
  24. Golinski, Jan., "The Care of the Self and the Masculine Birth of Science", Historical Science, 1:2002 pp. 1-21
  25. Siena, Kevin. "The Strange Medical Silence on Same-Sex Transmission of the Pox", The Sciences of homosexuality in early modern Europe, New York, Routledge, 2008. pp. 124-125
  26. Bacon, Francis as quoted by Rob Iliffe, "The Masculine Birth of Time: Temporal Frameworks of Early Modern Natural Philosophy" The British Journal for the History of Science, Vol. 33, No. 4, On Time: History, Science and Commemoration (Dec., 2000), pp. 444
  27. This is a summary of Keller's writings on Bacon in 1980 and 1985 (refs 33 and 37).
  28. O.E.D. dates the earliest use being in 1824, http://dictionary.oed.com
  29. Palmira Fontes da Costa, The understanding of monsters at the Royal Society in the first half of the eighteenth century, Endeavour, Volume 24, Issue 1, 1 March 2000, Pages 34-39, ISSN 0160-9327, DOI: 10.1016/S0160-9327(00)01283-7. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V81-414X333-7/2/e8f7eb039b0f4ce94f3f9c5eb208792b)
  30. http://www.ac-strasbourg.fr/pedago/lettres/Victor Hugo/Notes/Henri_III.htm
  31. Rutkin, Darrell. "Astrological conditioning of same-sex relations…" The sciences of homosexuality in early modern Europe, Borris, Kenneth, ed. The Sciences of Homosexuality in Early Modern Europe. New York: Routledge, 2008. p.183 - 185
  32. Borris, Kenneth. "Sodomizing Science", The sciences of homosexuality in early modern Europe, Borris, Kenneth, ed. The Sciences of Homosexuality in Early Modern Europe. New York: Routledge, 2008. p.138
  33. Aubrey, John. p. 71 "Brief lives", chiefly of contemporaries, set down by John Aubrey, between the years 1669 & 1696 Oxford, At the Clarendon Press, 1898

About the Author

Chuck Griffith curated high-art short subject films for Best of Breed: Vol. 1 and served as a producer/director for commercial film and television before becoming a novelist. He holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature and an MA in English Education from Columbia University.

No comments:

Post a Comment