Ackerley, Joseph Randolph (EoH)

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Ackerley, Joseph Randolph (1896 - 1967)

British writer and editor. In 1918 Ackerley wrote a play "The Prisoners of War" about the cabin fever and repressed homoerotic longings of his own stint in a German camp during World War 1. It was produced in 1925, by which time Ackerley had become a protege of E. M. Forster. Forster arranged for him a nebulous position with the Maharajah of Chhatarpur, whose misadventures in pursuit of homosexual love Ackerley mercilessly lampooned in his travel book Hindoo Holiday (1929).

The frustrations of Ackerley's own inhibited sexual encounters with working-class men and men in uniforms led him to concentrate his affections on his dog, an Alsatian named Queenie, who is the main romantic interest of My Dog Tulip (1956)) and of his one novel, We Think the World of You (1960), which juxtaposes the pleasures of owning a dog with the difficulties of having a lower class beloved. After Queenie's death and Ackerley'sretirement from theBBC (where he had been an editor of m e Listener, 1935-591, he journeyed to Japan, where he had a modicum of sexual gratification. Ackerley wrote an obituary of Forster and sold Forster's letters to the University of Texas, then predeceased him by three years.

Just before his death, Ackerley completed a memoir (My Father and Myself) in which he fantasized that as a youth his guardsman father had prostituted himself to rich patrons, thereby securing the financial stability that was eventually to afford his son the opportunity to rent later generations of guardsmen for mutual masturbation. Unfortunately, many of his admirers have taken this account to be established fact.

BIBLIOGRAPHY.

Neville Braybrooke, ed., The Ackerley Letters, New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1975; Peter Parker, Ackerley: A Life of 1.R. Ackerley, London: Constable, 1989.

Stephen O. Murray

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