three pairs of lovers with space

UNTRODDEN FIELDS OF ANTHROPOLOGY BY DR. JACOBUS X…

 

Untrodden Fields of Anthropology was written by a French army surgeon who worked in French colonies around the world between about 1865 and 1893.[1] It has been described as containing the sort of information everybody wants to know, but no one will admit wanting to know, since it is mostly about sex, and a lot of it is interestingly lurid. Its author has been called the father of comparative genitalology.

It was first published in 330 copies by Isidore Liseux in Paris in 1893 as L’amour aux colonies. Singularités physiologiques et passionnelles observes Durant trente années de séjour dans les Colonies françaises Cochin-Chine, Tonkin et Cambodge—Guyane et Martinique—Sénégal et Bivières du Sud—Nouvelle Galédonie, Nouvelles-Hébrides et Tahiti par le Docteur Jacobus X….

Links are provided here to most of what was written about pederasty in the second and enlarged English edition, Untrodden Fields of Anthropology: Observations on the Esoteric Manners and Customs of Semi-civilised Peoples, Being a Record by a French-Army Surgeon of Thirty Years’ Experience in Asia, Africa, America and Oceania. This was edited and published in two volumes in Paris in 1898 by Charles Carrington, “Publisher of Medical, Folk-lore and Historical Works”, who said in his foreword “we have given … not only a complete and unexpurgated version of the original text, but have added a number of notes and useful appendices.”

Frontispiece

Untrodden Fields was the first of many works by Dr. Jacobus X…, all published by Carrington in Paris and all of sexual interest. His recent death was announced in the preface to the last of them, Lois Genitales, in 1906. His real identity is unknown.  Various recent writers, notably Matt Cook in London and the Culture of Homosexuality, 1885-1914 (2003) p. 93 claim he was one “Louis Jarolliot”, without presenting evidence. Others give Jarolliot’s dates as 1837-90, which would appear to be a confusion with the well-known colonial judge and travel writer Louis Jacolliot, who lived at these dates, while a few say Jacolliot was indeed the “attributed” author, though he was not a doctor and he died well before the books were written. Yet others, apparently led by David Friedman, A Cultural History of the Penis (2008) p. 123, identify the author as one Dr. Jacobus Sutor.

Untrodden Fields is about sexual customs as a whole and is mostly devoted to heterosexual behaviour, but pederasty features prominently in Dr. X’s survey of Annam (Vietnam), and he also made some observations about it in Cambodia and French Guiana, besides reporting what he had learned about it in China and in general. Here follow some excerpts from Charles Carrington’s foreword that are helpful in understanding Dr. X’s credentials and purpose in writing, as well as giving a flavour of the work.

 

The Editor’s Foreword

An English translation of the Author's Preface to the French Edition

I have passed twenty-eight years of my life amongst diverse races, in all the five great divisions of the World. By giving my professional services to the natives of each place I visited, and by studying their language, I was able to gain their confidence, and learn much about their customs, manner of living, habits, etc. Having made diseases of the genitourinary organ my speciality, I was often consulted in these cases, and therefore collected much valuable information.

I was not merely satisfied with observing the effect of the human passions, but it appeared to me indispensable to trace these passions back to their moral causes, and make a psychological study of those causes. […]

This is not an obscene work, but a psychological sketch of the history of the sexual passions of the human race;—a stone towards the building of a vast edifice which, as yet, is hardly commenced. And besides the medico-legal view of the question, I have made a thorough research into, and philosophical examination of, the original causes.

Title page of the first volume

I have seen nearly all that I here relate, and have never hesitated to tell what I believed to be the truth. That which I have not seen I have derived from eye-witnesses who were worthy of credit. I have probed the depths of the human hearts of my patients, and too often found them cankered, and—conscious of my honest intentions—I have illuminated them with the torch of Philosophy. What I say may be believed. […]

The Author's weight.

The Author was a French army surgeon, and in that capacity was sent by his Government to the different Colonies about whose people he treats. The book is consequently not based on hearsay, nor on learned researches by beslippered Dryasdusts in long-forgotten archives. As a French officer he had everywhere access to the best society, while his medical duties brought him into contact with the lower orders. He was thus enabled to study every class in each community that he visited, and his observations have therefore a triple value, being the work of an acute physician, an experienced traveller, and a broad-minded man-of-the-world.

Depravity of Effete Civilizations.

Greater interest still is attached to the book, from the fact that the places under consideration lie in out-of-the-way corners of the earth, which the ordinary “globe-trotter” would never dream of visiting. His experiences cover thirty long years in Asia, Africa, America, and Oceania; and, with the frankness of a medical student, he carefully and without fear, examines the effete civilizations of Annam, Tonquin and Cambodia; laying open as with a scalpel, and exposing, the vices of people who have brought depravity almost up to the level of a fine art.

 

[1] He says he had served for twenty-eight years in his foreword to the first edition, published in 1893. Besides, it is clear from his account of Cochin-China that he began his service there and soon after it became a French colony, which happened in 1862.