My Life: Autobiography of Havelock Ellis

My Life: Autobiography of Havelock Ellis

My Life: Autobiography of Havelock Ellis

My Life: Autobiography of Havelock Ellis

Excerpt

It was soon after the age of thirty that I privately conceived the idea of writing an intimate account of my own life. At the same time I felt (like Cellini) that such a narrative could not wisely be begun earlier than the age of forty when the greater part of life was already past and it became possible to see the whole in one perspective. As it turned out, I could scarcely have begun it earlier, for I wished to give due weight to the influences of heredity, and it was not until I was forty that my father put into my hands a few old family papers which furnished clues to an investigation of my more remote ancestry, and helped me to understand the sources of my own tendencies. A little later, in that same year (1899), as I had planned, I duly began the narrative.

I wrote it in a leisurely fashion. It seemed to me that in transcribing, with the most delicate precision I was capable of, the process of my growth and progress through life, I was occupied in a task to which only my finest moments should be given. The record was thus slowly set down during a few days of the best summer weeks every year at Carbis Bay, as I reclined on the moor, reserving, without premeditation, one choice and special spot on Sunday mornings for this occupation. There seemed no need for haste; life was still spread spaciously ahead. With this careful choice of time and place the narrative moved so slowly that at the end of some fifteen years I had not advanced beyond the period of adolescence. Then my wife died and the space of life before me seemed suddenly to contract. It became clear that I must speed up my task. I made a fresh start from the time of . . .

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