Havelock Ellis

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To be a leader of men one must turn one's back on men.

Havelock Ellis (February 2, 1859July 8, 1939) was a British doctor, sexual psychologist and social reformer.


  • To be a leader of men one must turn one's back on men.
    • Introduction to Huysman's A Rebours (Against the Grain) (1884)
  • The omnipresent process of sex, as it is woven into the whole texture of our man's or woman's body, is the pattern of all the process of our life.
    • The New Spirit (1890)
  • 'Homosexual' is a barbarously hybrid word, and I claim no responsibility for it.
    • Studies in Psychology (1897)
  • Every artist writes his own autobiography.
    • The New Spirit
  • If men and women are to understand each other, to enter into each other's nature with mutual sympathy, and to become capable of genuine comradeship, the foundation must be laid in youth.
    • The Task of Social Hygiene, ch. 1 (1912)
  • "Charm"—which means the power to effect work without employing brute force—is indispensable to women. Charm is a woman's strength just as strength is a man's charm.
    • The Task of Social Hygiene, ch. 3
  • There has never been any country at every moment so virtuous and so wise that it has not sometimes needed to be saved from itself.
    • The Task of Social Hygiene, ch. 10
  • Had there been a lunatic asylum in the suburbs of Jerusalem, Jesus Christ would infallibly have been shut up in it at the outset of his public career. That interview with Satan on the pinnacle of the Temple would alone have damned him, and everything that happened after could but have confirmed the diagnosis.
    • Impressions and Comments, series 3
  • The text of the Bible is but a feeble symbol of the Revelation held in the text of Men and Women.
  • It is curious how there seems to be an instinctive disgust in Man for his nearest ancestors and relations. If only Darwin could conscientiously have traced man back to the Elephant or the Lion or the Antelope, how much ridicule and prejudice would have been spared to the doctrine of Evolution.
  • The family only represents one aspect, however important an aspect, of a human being's functions and activities...A life is beautiful and ideal, or the reverse, only when we have taken into our consideration the social as well as the family relationship.
    • Ch. 1
  • One can know nothing of giving aught that is worthy to give unless one also knows how to take.
    • Ch. 1
  • The byproduct is sometimes more valuable than the product.
    • Ch. 3
  • All civilization has from time to time become a thin crust over a volcano of revolution.
    • Ch. 7
  • The greatest task before civilization at present is to make machines what they ought to be, the slaves, instead of the masters of men.
    • Ch. 7
  • The art of dancing stands at the source of all the arts that express themselves first in the human person. The art of building, or architecture, is the beginning of all the arts that lie outside the person; and in the end they unite.
    • Ch. 2
  • Dancing is the loftiest, the most moving, the most beautiful of the arts, because it is no mere translation or abstraction from life; it is life itself.
    • Ch. 2
  • The place where optimism most flourishes is the lunatic asylum.
    • Ch. 3
  • Thinking in its lower grades is comparable to paper money, and in its higher forms it is a kind of poetry.
    • Ch. 3
  • In philosophy, it is not the attainment of the goal that matters, it is the things that are met with by the way.
    • Ch. 3
  • The mathematician has reached the highest rung on the ladder of human thought.
    • Ch. 3
  • A man must not swallow more beliefs than he can digest.
    • Ch. 5
  • The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.
    • Ch. 5
  • What we call "morals" is simply blind obedience to words of command.
    • Ch. 6
  • The sun and the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago...had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands.
    • Ch. 7

Quotes about Havelock Ellis