Sep 132017

Jen Grove: EP Warren’s Classical erotica: LGBT+ activism and objects from the past

Elderly man with thinning hair and moustache working at his desk

Edward Perry Warren

Embossed Roman cup showing two naked men, the young man being anally penetrated by the older.

Detail of Warren Cup, Roman, AD 5-15

Edward Perry Warren (1860-1928) is best known for giving his name to the “Warren Cup”, an ancient Roman goblet with explicit scenes of men having sex together (now in the British Museum). The Classical antiquities Warren collected at the beginning of the twentieth century include many of those we now turn to for visual evidence of homosexual acts in the ancient world.

Drawing on original archive work, this talk will explore how Warren used such artefacts from ancient Greece and Rome to campaign for the acceptance of same-sex relationships in the modern world. Warren was particularly influenced by John Addington Symonds and his Greek-inspired idea of a comradely type of love between highly virile men.

Tapered alabaster pottery vase decorated with two naked men, the older holding the younger's penis.

Alabastron, Greek, 550–535 BCE

This talk will also explore some of the problems of looking to Warren, the objects he collected, and the type of ancient relationship he was inspired by – between older and younger partners – for LGBT+ activism and education today.

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Photo of Jen Grove, a young woman with long hairDr Jen Grove is an Engaged Research Fellow in the Centre for Medical History at the University of Exeter. She is currently employed on a Wellcome Trust-funded project ‘Rethinking Sexology: The Cross-Disciplinary Invention of Sexuality: Sexual Science Beyond the Medical, 1890-1940’. She is the editor of a forthcoming book Sculpture, Sexuality and History: Encounters in Literature, Culture and the Arts from the Eighteenth Century to the Present (Palgrave, 2017, with Jana Funke). Jen works closely with LGBT+ activists and support groups, as well as museums, schools, youth workers and health practitioners to explore how artefacts from the past can get people talking about sex, relationships, gender and sexuality today. She tweets from @jenniferegrove

Saturday 7th October 2017, 2:30pm to 5pm

The Old Council Chamber, Wills Memorial Building, Queens Road, Bristol, BS8 1RJ

The talk will be preceded by the Annual General Meeting of OutStories Bristol (very brief!).

Everyone is welcome to both the AGM and talk. Admission and refreshments are free but a small donation towards the running costs of OutStories Bristol would be appreciated. Please book on Eventbrite.

The Old Council Chamber is on the first floor of the Wills Memorial Building – go up the main stairs and turn right.

Disabled parking is on the left side of the building with a lift to the first floor.

This is the Fourth Annual John Addington Symonds Celebration event in collaboration with the University of Bristol’s Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition (IGRCT). Our thanks to them for sponsoring this event.

Find out more about the IGRCT on their website; you can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

John Addington Symonds was a Bristol-based writer, art historian and pioneer of homosexual rights.

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