Posted on January 6, 2020 at 11:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

John Addington Symonds knew his essay “A Problem in Greek Ethics” was so controversial that he published only ten copies and kept them amongst trusted colleagues.

Written in 1873 and printed in 1883, the piece praises the ancient Greeks’ views of sexuality — that is, their acceptance of homosexuality.

Only five of Symonds’s original copies were believed to have survived, but Smithsonian Magazine reports that a sixth has just been discovered.

Johns Hopkins University curator Gabrielle Dean was searching online for an example of Symonds’s handwriting, to be used in an exhibition at the school, when she found a rare-book dealer’s listing for the copy of his essay.

Learn more about Symonds and his influence on the gay-rights movement in Smithsonian Magazine — and if you’re in Baltimore, “Queer Connections: The Library of John Addington Symonds” runs through March at Johns Hopkins’s Eisenhower Library.

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