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Released letters show Turing's "turmoil"

Tue 25 Aug 2015 In: International News

Alan Turing A family member has allowed the publication of three letters Alan Turing wrote to a friend after he was sentenced to chemical castration. The genius codebreaker died from cyanide poisoning in 1954, two years after he was prosecuted under the UK’s then law prohibiting gay sex. He has since been posthumously pardoned. His nephew Sir Dermot Turing includes letters from his late uncle to Nick Furbank, a literary scholar who died last year, in his upcoming book, Prof: Alan Turing Decoded. He has released excerpts to The Guardian, which were written after Alan Turning was sentenced to chemical castration to “suppress homosexual urges”. He wrote, “I have had a dream indicating rather clearly that I am on the way to being hetero, though I don’t accept it with much enthusiasm either awake or in the dreams.” In another excerpt he says: “Mother has been staying here, and we seem to be getting on a good deal better. I have been subjecting her to a good deal of sexual enlightenment and she seems to have stood up to it very well. There was a rather absurd dream I had the other night in which I asked mother’s opinion about going to bed with some men and she said: ‘Oh very well, but don’t go walking about the place naked like you did before’.” He also wrote of an upcoming holiday and said, “I expect to lie in the sun, talk French and modern Greek, and make love, though the sex and nationality… has yet to be decided: in fact it is quite possible that this item will be altogether omitted. I want a permanent relationship and I might feel inclined to reject anything which of its nature could not be permanent.” Sir Dermot Turing says his uncle’s letters are very interesting: “At the same time that he was having his psychotherapy, and… his hormones taken out… [the correspondence] indicates that he was in a good deal of a turmoil, which… has historically been what everyone had assumed, but now is confirmed.”    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Tuesday, 25th August 2015 - 9:28am

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