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May 25th

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The Riddle of Man-Manly Love

.... by Karl Heinrich Ulrichs ....

The Pioneering Work on Male Homosexuality

Riddle of man manly love

A century before Stonewall and the rise of the modern gay and lesbian movement, Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825-1895), lawyer, classical scholar, and openly gay man, was boldly and publicly defending the rights of homosexuals.

Between 1864 and 1880, he published a series of twelve tracts, which he collectively titled Research on the Riddle of "Man-Manly" Love. Much more than a seminal work on the causes of homosexuality, Ulrich's monumental study deeply influenced an entire generation of sex researchers, including Richard von Kraft-Ebing and Havelock Ellis.

Now, for the first time, this pioneering work by an important researcher in gay studies is available in English in its entirety, newly translated by Michael A. Lombardi-Nash. In The Riddle of "Man-Manly" Love, Ulrichs surveys literary, historical, physiological, and other data in his argument that homosexuality is not a disease or a sin, but perfectly natural, and that the strict line of differentiation between men and women has been overemphasized. Turning to the science of embryology, Ulrichs contends that male, as well as female, homosexuality results from a crossing of the male and female generative principles during the first crucial stages of fetal development. Thus, homosexual men are essentially "male" in body, "female" in desire - crucially different from heterosexual men.

Homosexuality (and, with that hermaphroditism and bisexuality) is the work of nature, hence innate and unavoidable. While these volumes may be read with pleasure and profit by all, they provide a scholarly and indispensable reference work to educators and social and sex researchers alike.

"Both volumes of this important book are well produced and deserve to be on the bookshelves of anyone seriously interested in male homosexuality and the history of sexuality. Sexual and Marital Therapy... very useful for someone who wishes to become acquainted with the work of this pioneer." Archives of Sexual Behavior


Hubert Kennedy, (1987), Ulrichs: Life and Works of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, Pioneer of the Modern Gay Movement, Boston: Alyson Publications.

Hubert Kennedy's excellent biography is available in English and German. Kennedy is the first known person to have visited Ulrichs' grave (1983) since Magnus Hirschfeld (1909).

Heinrich HoessliErosHeinrich Hössli (1784-1864). His books appeared in two volumes (1836 and 1838). The Rosa Winkel ("Pink Triangle") edition has a third, supplementary volume. Introduction by Manfred Herzer. (All in German)

Magnus HirschfieldHomosexuality of Men and WomenMagnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) thoroughly referenced Karl Heinrich Ulrichs throughout his The Homosexuality of Men and Women, written originally in 1914. Chapter 38 contains a pithy biography of Ulrichs. A translation of the entire book is published by Prometheus Books:

Research on the Riddle of "Man-Manly" Love contains the 12 books of research by Ulrichs in two volumes:

  1. Vindex (Vindicator),
  2. Inclusa (Inclusive),
  3. Vindicta (Rod of Freedom),
  4. Formatrix (She [Nature] Who Creates),
  5. Ara Spei (Refuge of Hope),
  6. Gladius Furens (Raging Sword),
  7. Memnon,
  8. Incubus,
  9. Argonauticus,
  10. Prometheus,
  11. Araxes (A River in Armenia),
  12. Critische Pfeile (Critical Arrows) 

biographyUlrichs also has much to say about the respect and promotion of women. In Ulrichs' day, the anti-"Gay" law did not apply to women. As you will see, he did his best to include women, even so-called fallen women, in his call for equal rights. Introduction by Distinguished Professor Emeritus Dr. Vern L. Bullough, R.N.

Ulrichs' Riddle of Man-Manly Love and Sailor Stories are also available in German from Rosa Winkel Press, edited by Ulrichs' biographer Hubert Kennedy and Wolfram Setz. Massimo Consoli (Italy - Milano) has begun a translation of Ulrichs' book into Italian.

For more books by Ulrichs and information about him, please visit:

Also read the following pages:
  • Celebration
  • A short Biography
  • A personal story by Paul J. Nash
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