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Master and mistress of ambiguity

19 October 2002

12:00 AM

19 October 2002

12:00 AM

WHO WAS DR CHARLOTTE BACH? Francis Wheen

Short Books, pp.141, 9.99

Charlotte Bach was unusual even in those who stood by her: Don Smith, a gay sado-masochist with whom she was collaborating on a book called Sex, Sin and Evolution; Bob Mellors, a founder of the Gay Liberation Front, who had custody of her papers until he was murdered in his Warsaw flat; a man whose name she never knew who met her every Wednesday for several years for a meal at a Wimpy bar and a trip to the cinema, where she would play with his ‘thing’ during the trailers – although this regular engagement came to an end in 1979 when she bought a colour television and forsook the cinema; and Colin Wilson, the author of The Outsider, who took her scientific theories seriously.

According to an advertisement she placed on the Court Circular page of the Times in 1971, Dr Bach had elaborated a theory by which evolution (largely of a Lamarckian nature) proceeded thanks to ‘sexual deviations’ and ‘in particular the phenomenon at present misleadingly termed


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