The Autobiography of a Flea is an anonymous erotic novel first published in 1887 in London by Edward Avery. Later research has revealed that the author was a London lawyer of the time named Stanislas de Rhodes.
The story is narrated by a flea who tells the tale of a beautiful young girl named Bella whose burgeoning sexuality is taken advantage of by her young lover Charlie, the local priest Father Ambrose, two of his colleagues in holy orders and her own uncle. Bella is then employed to procure her best friend, Julia for the sexual enjoyment of both the priests and of her own father.
The Narrator of the story is a flea. The novel begins with the flea asserting that though he gets his living by blood sucking he is "not the lowest of that universal fraternity". The flea further asserts that his intelligence and abilities of observation and communication are comparable to a human, and demurs from any explanation of the cause, adding that he is "in truth a most wonderful and exalted insect". The unusual narrator allows the story to be written from the viewpoint of a character who neither participates in nor necessarily approves of the sex scenes, and the movement of the narrator between the bodies of the different characters allows the action to follow different characters at different times. Despite ostensibly being written from the first person the novel includes descriptions of the feelings and intentions of various characters which seem more fitting with a third person limited omniscient narrator. (Full article . . . )
Fifty Shades of Grey is a 2011 erotic romance novel by British author E. L. James. It is the first installment in the Fifty Shades trilogy that traces the deepening relationship between a college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and a young business magnate, Christian Grey. It is notable for its explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of sexual practices involving bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism (BDSM). Originally self-published as an ebook and a print-on-demand, publishing rights were acquired by Vintage Books in March 2012.
The second and third volumes, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, were published in 2012. Fifty Shades of Grey has topped best-seller lists around the world, including those of the United Kingdom and the United States. The series has sold over 100 million copies worldwide and been translated into 52 languages, and set the record as the fastest-selling paperback of all time. Critical reception of the book, however, has been mixed, with the quality of its prose generally seen as poor. Universal Pictures and Focus Features plan a film adaptation scheduled for a February 13, 2015 release. (Full article...)
Story of the Eye (French: L'histoire de l'oeil) is a 1928 novella by Georges Bataille that details the increasingly bizarre sexual perversions of a pair of teenage lovers. It is narrated by the young man looking back on his exploits.
Story of the Eye consists of several vignettes, centered around the sexual passion existing between the unnamed late adolescent male narrator and Simone, his primary female partner. Within this episodic narrative two secondary figures emerge: Marcelle, a mentally ill sixteen-year-old girl who comes to a sad end, and Lord Edmund, a voyeuristic English émigré aristocrat.
In a postscript, Bataille reveals that the character of Marcelle may have been partially inspired by his own mother, who suffered from bipolar disorder, while the narrator's father is also a transcription of his own unhappy paternal relationship. In an English language edition, Roland Barthes and Susan Sontag provide critical comment on the events.
Roland Barthes published the original French version of his essay "Metaphor of the Eye" in Bataille's own journal Critique, shortly after Bataille's death in 1962. Barthes' analysis centers on the centrality of the eye to this series of vignettes, and notices that it is interchangeable with eggs, bulls' testicles and other ovular objects within the narrative. He also traces a second series of liquid metaphors within the text, which flow through tears, cat's milk, egg yolks, frequent urination scenes, blood and semen. (Full article...)
Desclos did not reveal herself as the author for forty years after the initial publication. Desclos claims she wrote the novel as a series of love letters to her lover Jean Paulhan, who had admired the work of the Marquis de Sade. The novel shares with the latter themes such as love, dominance and submission.
Published in French by Jean-Jacques Pauvert, Story of O is a tale of female submission about a beautiful Parisian fashion photographer named O, who is taught to be constantly available for oral, vaginal, and anal intercourse. She is regularly stripped, blindfolded, chained and whipped; her anus is widened by increasingly large plugs; her labium is pierced and her buttocks are branded.
The story begins when O's lover, René, brings her to the château of Roissy, where she is trained to serve the members of an elite club. After this initial training, as a demonstration of their bond and his generosity, René hands O to his elder stepbrother Sir Stephen, a more dominant master. René wants O to learn to serve someone whom she does not love, and someone who does not love her. Over the course of this training, O falls in love with Sir Stephen and believes him to be in love with her as well. During the summer, Sir Stephen sends O to Samois, an old mansion solely inhabited by women for advanced training and body modifications related to submission. There she agrees to receive permanent marks of Sir Stephen's ownership, in the form of a brand and a steel tag hanging from a labia piercing.
Meanwhile René has encouraged O to seduce Jacqueline, a vain fashion model, and lure her to Roissy. Jacqueline is repulsed when she first sees O's chains and scars, but O herself is proud of her condition as a willing slave. Curious, Jacqueline hesitantly agrees to visit Roissy, "only to see what it's like"; it is implied that Jacqueline later comes to Roissy and is forcibly enslaved in turn.
An epilogue notes that O was then abandoned by Sir Stephen and asked his permission to die, which was granted.(Full article...)
Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (popularly known as Fanny Hill) is an erotic novel by English novelist John Cleland first published in London in 1748. Written while the author was in debtors' prison in London, it is considered "the first original English prose pornography, and the first pornography to use the form of the novel".
The novel was published in two instalments, on November 21, 1748 and February 1749, respectively, by "G. Fenton", actually Fenton Griffiths and his brother Ralph. Initially, there was no governmental reaction to the novel, and it was only in November 1749, a year after the first instalment was published, that Cleland and Ralph Griffiths were arrested and charged with "corrupting the King's subjects." In court, Cleland renounced the novel and it was officially withdrawn.
However, as the book became popular, pirate editions appeared. It was once suspected that the sodomy scene near the end that Fanny witnesses in disgust was an interpolation made for these pirated editions, but as Peter Sabor states in the introduction to the Oxford edition of Memoirs (1985), that scene is present in the first edition (p. xxiii). In the 19th century, copies of the book were sold "underground."
The book eventually made its way to the United States. In 1821, in the first known obscenity case in the United States, a Massachusetts court outlawed Fanny Hill. The publisher, Peter Holmes, was convicted for printing a "lewd and obscene" novel. Holmes appealed to the Massachusetts Supreme Court. He claimed that the judge, relying only on the prosecution's description, had not even seen the book. The state Supreme Court wasn't swayed. The Chief Justice wrote that Holmes was "a scandalous and evil disposed person" who had contrived to "debauch and corrupt" the citizens of Massachusetts and "to raise and create in their minds inordinate and lustful desires." (Full article...)
Jin Ping Mei (Chinese: 金瓶梅; pinyin: Jīn Píng Méi), translated as The Plum in the Golden Vase or The Golden Lotus, is a Chinese naturalistic novel composed in vernacular Chinese during the late Ming Dynasty. The anonymous author took the pseudonym Lanling Xiaoxiao Sheng (蘭陵笑笑生), "The Scoffing Scholar of Lanling," and his identity is otherwise unknown (the only clue is that he hailed from Lanling in present-day Shandong). The earliest known versions of the novel exist only in handwritten scripts; the first block-printed book was released only in 1610. The more complete version available today comprises one hundred chapters, amounting to over a thousand pages.
Its graphically explicit depiction of sexuality has garnered the novel a level of notoriety in China akin to Fanny Hill and Lady Chatterley's Lover in English literature, but critics such as the translator David Tod Roy see a firm moral structure which exacts retribution for the sexual libertinism of the central characters. (Full article...)
Ada began to materialize in 1959, when Nabokov was flirting with two projects, "The Texture of Time" and "Letters from Terra". In 1965, he began to see a link between the two ideas, finally composing a unified novel from February 1966 to October 1968. The published cumulation would become his longest work. Ada was initially given a mixed reception. But, writing in the New York Times Book Review, noted scholar Alfred Appel called it "a great work of art, a necessary book, radiant and rapturous" and said that it "provides further evidence that he is a peer of Kafka, Proust and Joyce".
Part 1, which one critic called "the last 19th century Russian novel", takes up nearly half the book. Throughout this part of the novel, the many passages depicting the blossoming of Van and Ada's love vary in rhythm, in style, and in vocabulary—ranging from lustrous, deceptively simple yet richly sensual prose to leering and Baroque satire of eighteenth-century pornography—depending on the mood Nabokov wishes to convey. (Full article...)
Lady Chatterley's Lover is a novel by D. H. Lawrence, first published in 1928. The first edition was printed privately in Florence, Italy, with assistance from Pino Orioli; an unexpurgated edition could not be published openly in the United Kingdom until 1960. (A private edition was issued by Inky Stephensen's Mandrake Press in 1929.) The book soon became notorious for its story of the physical (and emotional) relationship between a working-class man and an upper-class woman, its explicit descriptions of sex, and its use of then-unprintable words.
The story is said to have originated from events in Lawrence's own unhappy domestic life, and he took inspiration for the settings of the book from Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, where he grew up. According to some critics, the fling of Lady Ottoline Morrell with "Tiger", a young stonemason who came to carve plinths for her garden statues, also influenced the story. Lawrence at one time considered calling the novel Tenderness and made significant alterations to the text and story in the process of its composition. It has been published in three versions. (Full article...)
The book's sensual poems are in the manner of Sappho; the introduction claims they were found on the walls of a tomb in Cyprus, written by a woman of Ancient Greece called Bilitis, a courtesan and contemporary of Sappho, to whose 'life' Louÿs dedicated a small section of his book. On publication, the volume deceived even the most expert of scholars. Though the poems were actually clever fabulations, authored by Louÿs himself, they are still considered important literature. (Full article...)
The 120 Days of Sodom, or the School of Libertinism (Les 120 journées de Sodome ou l'école du libertinage) is a novel by the French writer and nobleman Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade. Described as both pornographic and erotic, it was written in 1785. It tells the story of four wealthy male libertines who resolve to experience the ultimate sexual gratification in orgies. To do this, they seal themselves away for four months in an inaccessible castle in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, France, with a harem of 46 victims, mostly young male and female teenagers, and engage four female brothel keepers to tell the stories of their lives and adventures. The women's narratives form an inspiration for the sexual abuse and torture of the victims, which gradually mounts in intensity and ends in their slaughter.
The work remained unpublished until the twentieth century. In recent times it has been translated into many languages, including English, Japanese and German. Due to its themes of sexual violence and extreme cruelty, it has been banned by some governments.(Full article...)
The Kama Sutra (Sanskrit: कामसूत्र pronunciation (help·info), Kāmasūtra) is an ancient Indian Hindu text widely considered to be the standard work on human sexual behavior in Sanskrit literature written by Vātsyāyana. A portion of the work consists of practical advice on sexual intercourse. It is largely in prose, with many inserted anustubh poetry verses. "Kāma" which is one of the four goals of Hindu life, means desire including sexual desire the latter being the subject of the textbook, and "sūtra" literally means a thread or line that holds things together, and more metaphorically refers to an aphorism (or line, rule, formula), or a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual. Contrary to popular perception, especially in the western world, Kama sutra is not just an exclusive sex manual; it presents itself as a guide to a virtuous and gracious living that discusses the nature of love, family life and other aspects pertaining to pleasure oriented faculties of human life. (Full article...)
Lolita is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, written in English and published in 1955 in Paris, in 1958 in New York, and in 1959 in London. It was later translated by its Russian-native author into Russian. The novel is notable for its controversial subject: the protagonist and unreliable narrator, a 37-to-38-year-old literature professor called Humbert Humbert, is obsessed with the 12-year-old Dolores Haze, with whom he becomes sexually involved after he becomes her stepfather. "Lolita" is his private nickname for Dolores.
After its publication, Lolita attained a classic status, becoming one of the best-known and most controversial examples of 20th century literature. The name "Lolita" has entered pop culture to describe a sexually precocious girl. The novel was adapted to film by Stanley Kubrick in 1962, and again in 1997 by Adrian Lyne. It has also been adapted several times for stage and has been the subject of two operas, two ballets, and an acclaimed but failed Broadway musical.
Lolita is included on Time's List of the 100 Best Novels in the English language from 1923 to 2005. It is fourth on the Modern Library's 1998 list of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th century. (Full article...)
Tropic of Cancer is a novel by Henry Miller that has been described as "notorious for its candid sexuality" and as responsible for the "free speech that we now take for granted in literature". It was first published in 1934 by the Obelisk Press in Paris, France, but this edition was banned in the United States. Its publication in 1961 in the U.S. by Grove Press led to obscenity trials that tested American laws on pornography in the early 1960s. In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the book non-obscene. It is widely regarded as an important masterpiece of 20th-century literature. (Full article . . . )
Josephine Mutzenbacher – The Life Story of a Viennese Whore, as Told by Herself (German: Josefine Mutzenbacher – Die Lebensgeschichte Einer Wienerischen Dirne, Von Ihr Selbst Erzählt) is an erotic novel first published anonymously in Vienna, Austria in 1906. The novel is famous in the German-speaking world, having been in print in both German and English for over 100 years and sold over 3 million copies, becoming an erotic bestseller.
Although no author claimed responsibility for the work, it was originally attributed to either Felix Salten (see Bambi) or Arthur Schnitzler by the librarians at the University of Vienna. Today, critics, scholars, academics and the Austrian Government designate Salten as the sole author of the "pornographic classic", Josephine Mutzenbacher. The original novel uses the specific local dialect of Vienna of that time in dialogues and is therefore used as a rare source of this dialect for linguists. It also describes, to some extent, the social and economical conditions of the lower class of that time. The novel has been translated into English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Hungarian, Dutch, Japanese, Swedish and Finnish, and been the subject of numerous films, theater productions, parodies, and university courses, as well as two sequels. (Full article...)
Tijuana bibles (also known as eight-pagers, Tillie-and-Mac books, Jiggs-and-Maggie books, jo-jo books, bluesies, gray-backs, and two-by-fours) were little palm-sized pornographic comic books produced in the United States from the 1920s to the early 1960s. Their popularity peaked during the Great Depression era.
Most Tijuana bibles were obscene parodies of popular newspaper comic strips of the day, like "Blondie", "Barney Google", "Moon Mullins", "Popeye", "Tillie the Toiler", "Dick Tracy", "Little Orphan Annie", and "Bringing Up Father". Others made use of characters based on popular movie stars and sports stars of the day, like Mae West and Joe Louis, sometimes with names thinly changed. Before the war, almost all the stories were humorous and frequently were cartoon versions of well-known dirty jokes that had been making the rounds for decades.
Illegal, clandestine, and anonymous, the artists, writers, and publishers of these booklets are generally unknown. The quality of the artwork varied widely. The subjects are explicit sexual escapades usually featuring well known newspaper comic strip characters, movie stars, and (rarely) political figures, invariably used without respect for either copyright or libel law and without permission. Tijuana bibles repeated without a trace of self-consciousness the ethnic stereotypes found in popular culture at the time, although one Tijuana bible ("You Nazi Man") concluded on a serious note with a brief message from the publisher pleading for greater tolerance in Germany for the Jews. (Full article...)
Emmanuelle (Emmanuelle: The Joys of a Woman) is an erotic novel by Emmanuelle Arsan originally written in French and published in France in 1967. It was translated into and published in English in 1971 by Mayflower Books. It is a series of explicit erotic fantasies of the author in which she has sex with several—often anonymous—men, her husband, and several lesbian encounters too. It is written in the third person and the reader sees events entirely through the eyes of the sexually adventurous heroine. The book sold widely and later went on to be made into/inspired a series of films. A sequel, Emmanuelle 2, followed in 1976. (Full article . . . )
Sex is a coffee table book written by Madonna, with photographs taken by Steven Meisel Studio and film frames shot by Fabien Baron. The book was edited by Glenn O'Brien and was released on October 21, 1992, by Warner Books, Maverick and Callaway Books. Approached with an idea for a book on erotic photographs, Madonna expanded on the idea and conceived the book and its content. Shot in early 1992 in New York City and Miami, the locations ranged from hotels and burlesque theaters, to the streets of Miami. The photographs were even stolen before publishing, but were quickly recovered.
The book had a range of influences – from punk rock to earlier fashion iconoclasts like Guy Bourdin and his surrealism, and Helmut Newton, in its stylized, sado-masochistic look. Sex has photographs that feature adult content and softcore pornographic as well as simulations of sexual acts, including sadomasochism and analingus. Madonna wrote the book as a character named "Mistress Dita", inspired by 1930s film actress Dita Parlo. It also includes cameos by actress Isabella Rossellini, rappers Big Daddy Kane and Vanilla Ice, model Naomi Campbell, gay porn star Joey Stefano, actor Udo Kier, socialite Tatiana von Fürstenberg, and nightclub owner Ingrid Casares.
The packaging for the book is made of aluminium, which was Madonna's idea, and is spiral bound and enclosed in a Mylar sheet. Due to the scandalous nature of the photographs and the media mayhem surrounding it from the initial preview of the book, Madonna did not have to promote Sex, except for a pre-release party and some television specials. Her publishers were extremely apprehensive about the release as well as its commercial potential. Sex was released alongside her fifth studio album Erotica, which was released a day earlier.
The extremely controversial book was received negatively by both critics and fans of the singer, who felt she had gone too far. Despite this it was a commercial success, managing to sell over 150,000 copies on its first day of release and topped The New York Times Best Seller list. It has become one of the most sought-after out-of-print books of all time. Throughout the years critical reception towards Sex has become more positive, with academics deeming the book, as well as this particular period of Madonna's life, as one of the most defining phases of her career. Sex is noted for its impact on society, culture as well as on Madonna herself, and is considered a bold, post-feminist, work of art. (Full article...)