Wednesday, October 23, 2013

CAPRI, CATAMITES AND THE COGNOSCENTI

Capri

Young boys were an interest for novelist Graham Greene, who made his home on Capri

Young boys were an interest for Emperor Tiberius, German industrialist Friedrich Alfred Krupp and many others who made their homes on Capri.

This island of satyrs has a licentious reputation.


Graham Greene of MI6

'For occasional homosexual adventures', novelist Graham Greene used to take young Italian boys to Villa Rossaio, his home on the island

(Source: Graham Greene, The Man Within, by Michael Shelden, publ.Heinemann.)


Graham Greene's The Third Man.

Greene's friend Doctor Elizabeth Moor confided in her friend Gitta Bittorf that the boys used to stay with Greene on Capri for one or two days.

And postman Attilo Scoppa found that Greene often had boys, aged 14-16, staying at Villa Rossaio.

People in the town of Anacapri told Scoppa "the boys came for sex."

Greene was sufficiently well liked by his fellow citizens to be given the title of Honorary Citizen of Anacapri.


Emperor Tiberius's Villa Jovis on Capri

Emperor Tiberius, who retired to Capri around 30 AD, is reported to have indulged in endless orgies with boy concubines.

It is said that the walls of his villa were covered with huge pornographic paintings.

According to some sources he enjoyed having mullet nibble his crumb-coated genitals as he relaxed in rock pools.

And he used to have his organ covered in milk and honey so that babies would suckle his glans.



There were stories, put about by his enemies, that Tiberius had boys flung into the sea from the high cliffs beneath his villa.

One of the hundreds of boys who lived with Tiberius was Vitellius, who after working as catamite for Caligula, Claudius and Nero, became Emperor in 69 AD.

So they can't all have been flung from the cliffs.


Krupp

Multimillionaire German industrialist Friedrich Alfred Krupp (1854-1902) set up a comfortable 'palace' in a grotto on Capri, where he entertained underage Italian boys, mostly the sons of local fishermen.

Sex was performed to the accompaniment of a string quartet, and orgasms were celebrated with bursts of fireworks.


Krupp on Capri

When Krupp's wife heard rumours of what was going on, she went to the Kaiser, who had her put into an insane asylum.

The Krupp military-industrial empire was too vital to Germany.

However, the German press eventually found out about Krupp's activities, and printed the whole story, complete with photographs taken by Krupp himself inside the grotto.



Capri was where Oscar Wilde was reunited with Lord Alfred Douglas after being released from jail.

Noel Coward took the title of his song 'A Bar on the Piccola Marina' from the island's favourite meeting place for 'free spirits'.


Norman Douglas

Capri was home to paedophile Norman Douglas, who was Greene's best friend on the island in the late 1940's and early 1950's.

Norman Douglas was the author of 'South Wind' which captured the air of sensuality associated with Capri and Southern Italy.


Compton Mackenzie of MI6

Famous Scot, Compton Mackenzie, was apparently another boylover who fell for Capri.

He moved there with his wife in 1913 and remained about ten years.

Two of his books were set on Capri: 'Vestal Fire' and 'Extraordinary Women.'

According to biographers, he bought a small villa in the plain of Cetrella, 'where he used to hold his amorous encounters with young boys.'

In 1918, the arrival in Capri of a group of lesbians, gave Mackenzie the inspiration to write 'Extraordinary Women.'



The Famous Swede Axel Munthe wrote:

"I sprang from the Sorrento sailing-boat onto the little beach.

"Swarms of BOYS were playing about among the upturned boats or bathing their shining bronze bodies in the surf....."

Munthe's autobiographical "The History of S. Michele" was published for the first time in English in 1929.

Since then this book about Capri has been translated into many languages and is now among the most read books after the Bible.



It was in 1887 that Munthe decided to settle on Capri and work as the municipal doctor.

Munthe's first visit to Capri had been in 1884 at the time of a cholera outbreak in Naples.

As soon as he had landed on the island, he had fallen in love with the ruins of a little medieval chapel dedicated to S. Michele, surrounded by a large vineyard hiding the ruins of a Roman villa.

He decided to create his dream villa called San Michele and bought a whole mountain to make this possible. "My house must be open to the sun, to the wind, to the sea, like a Greek temple, and light, light everywhere".

Munthe was a lover of the arts, a philanthropist, and a great lover of animals.


Fersen

Baron Fersen of Adeswarde, born in Paris in 1880 of a family of steel industrialists, was another lover of Capri.

On 10 June 1903, the day of Fersen's engagement to the Viscount of Moupeou's daughter, he was arrested on charges of gross indecency and corruption of young boys.

After that event he decided to take up permanent residence on his favourite island of Capri.

Here he rented Villa Certosella.



Just what are the attractions of Capri to the rich, the famous and the cognoscenti?

Gay names associated with Capri include Ezra Pound, Tennessee Williams, Jean Cocteau, Andre Gide...

Visitors to the island have included Leonardo DiCaprio, Lenin,Tom Cruise, Tommy Hilfiger and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen 

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've never read that Ezra Pound was bisexual. (He certainly doesn't appear to have been gay.)

Anonymous said...

T.S. Eliot is another matter. You seem too literate to have the two confused though.

Anonymous said...

Unforgettable - Totò «a Capri» :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIBJzN1e3Os
Cab Calloway!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKDe0fSKGzY
E' un Picassò

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4CRlJXyGfY
Totò e Giulia Sofia

Anonymous said...

I have this tendency, this quirk
of falling in random;
graham greene once said -
you cannot love without intuition


graham greene is one of my favorite writers. he also wrote stories about espionage.

 
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