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The term 'involuntarily celibate' had been used in literature prior to the internet, and sometimes, but rarely used in a semi-academic way. It wouldn't be until the internet era that the term entered academia. Prior to the internet, the term, "involuntary celibate", was used in literature, including but not limited to, ''[[Antoine Banier|The Mythology and Fables of the Ancients, Explain'd from History, Volume 3]]'' in 1739, ''Russia: or, A compleat historical account of all nations which compose that empire'' by Johann Gottlieb Gorgi in 1780 (makes explicit reference to polygyny among Uzbeks leading to widespread inceldom among men), ''Aparato a la historia eclesiastica de Aragon'' in 1791 by the enlightenment era Spanish historian Joaquin Traggia (referencing incel slaves), ''The Doctrine and Law of Marriage, Adultery and Divorce'', 1826, by Hector Davies Morgan, M.A, Volume Six of the British satirical magazine ''Punch'' in 1844(in the form of a satirical proposal to alleviate inceldom purportedly authored by a representative of the "Grand National Union Wife Agency and Assurance Company"), ''Family Herald Magazine'' in 1876, ''The Population Question According to T. R. Malthus and J. S. Mill'' by Charles Robert Drysdale in 1892, ''Virginia'' by Ellen Glasgow in 1913, ''[[The Great Unmarried]]'' by British Journalist Walter M. Gallichan in 1916, 'The Building'' by Peter Martin in 1960, in detail in ''[[Blueprint for a Higher Civilization]]'' by [[Henry Flynt]] in 1975, ''Law and Liberation'' by Robert E. Rhodes in 1986, ''Criminal Tendencies'' by William O'Rourke in 1987, ''Human Sexuality: the search for understanding'' by David Knox in 1984, and ''Understanding Sexuality'' by Adelaide Haas and Kurt Haas in 1990.
While never directly using the verbatim terms, "involuntarily celibate" or "incel," famous French author [[Michel Houellebecq]] has written about the topic vicariously through his many fictional works about [[involuntarily celibate]] and layless men. Famous English novelist and non-fiction writer George Orwell also briefly touched upon [[involuntarily celibate]] (without explicitly using the term) tramps in his book about the lives of the underclass, Down and Out in Paris and London, in 1933.

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