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Georges Eekhoud
(March 8, 1854 - May 29, 1927) Belgium

Georges Eekhoud

Author

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Eekhoud's ex-librisEekhoud was born in Anvers, and though the town was in Flanders, he grew up, like all the middle-classes of the period, speaking French. Orphaned at a early age, he led a rather unsettled childhood, educated at the expense of an uncle who died while his nephew was still an adolescent. Eekhoud then joined the École Royale Militaire but was expelled for unspecified disciplinary reasons after seven months.

So, at age 19, he began a career of journalism, teaching and popular novel writing (under a pseudonym). which was to last until his death. Despite an early avareness of a taste for young working-class men, in 1883 he married a woman seven years older than himself, who had been in service in his grandmother's house.

However the marriage seems to have been based on a commn desire, in the sense that the couple would stroll in the old quartiers of Brussels admiring the healthy, unsophisticated young (male) peasants to whom they were both attracted.

Georges Eekhoud The tale Escal-Vigor (1899) brought him international notoriety. This tale of the ill-fated passion of an aristocrat and a young country lad, devoid though it is of physical passion until the kiss which the unhappy couple share as they die, was the subject of a charge of corrupting public morals, in Bruges in 1900. Leading writers and public figures in both France and Belgium, including André Gide, protested on Eekhloud's behalf, and the case was dismissed.

The trial seems to have done him no harm, personally or publically, an outcome more or less unique for a European homosexual of the period.

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Source: excerpts from: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History, from Antiquity to WWII, Routledge, London, 2001

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