[jahsonic.com] - [Next >>]

[<<] September 2005 Jahsonic (10) [>>]

blog archives

about - art - culture - dance - erotica - fiction - film - gallery - genre - history - human - home - index - lifestyle - links - music - list of qualities - search - list of sensibilities - theory - underground - world

WWW jahsonic.com

"Method of this work:
literary montage.
I have nothing to say only to show." (Passagenwerk (1927 - 1940) - Walter Benjamin)

2005, Sep 30; 21:25 ::: Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies (2005) - Hallie Rubenhold

Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies (2005) - Hallie Rubenhold [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies was a bestseller of the eighteenth century shifting 250,000 copies in an age before mass consumerism. An annual 'guide book', it detailed the names and 'specialities' of the capital's prostitutes. During its heyday (1757-95) Harris's List was the essential accessory for any serious gentleman of pleasure. Yet beyond its titillating passages lay a glimpse into the lives of those who lived and died by the List's profits during the Georgian era. Hallie Rubenhold has collected the funniest, ruddiest and most surreal entries penned by Jack Harris, 'Pimp-General-of-All-England' into this hilarious book. --via Amazon.co.uk

See also: guides roses - 1750s - list - prostitute - sex manual

2005, Sep 30; 23:45 ::: Historia plantarum rariorum (1752) - John Martyn

Historia plantarum rariorum (1752) - John Martyn
Image sourced here.

See also: English erotica - 1750s - biology

Do not confuse with: John Martyn (musician)

2005, Sep 30; 22:07 ::: Paul-Emile Bécat

Les Ragionamenti (1534) de L'Arétin (Arezzo 1492- Venise 1556) illustrés par Paul-Emile Bécat
Image sourced here.

Paul-Emile Bécat (1885 – 1960), peintre, graveur et dessinateur français, Grand prix de Rome en 1920, fut vraisemblablement l’un des illustrateurs les plus prolifiques à tel point que son œuvre peint est pratiquement inconnu. Ce maître de la gravure « à la pointe sèche », ce chantre du corps féminin et des scènes saphiques dont l’érotisme est exacerbé par la précision du trait, réjouit les bibliophiles amateurs d'images libertines. --http://perso.wanadoo.fr/saphisme/peinture/becat_p_e.html [Sept 2005]

Paul-Emile Becat (1885-1960). Becat was an accomplished printmaker, painter and extremely prolific illustrator. Becat studied at l?Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris under Flammeng and Ferrier. He received the Prix de Rome, the medaille d?argent at the Salon des Artistes Francais where he also was a member, and the Prix de Robert de Rouge. --http://www.bobvila.com/ProductServices/SmartBuys/SmartDirectory/Antiques-Lithographs-B-1.html

See also: Paul-Emile Bécat Google Gallery

See also: France - erotic illustration - nun

2005, Sep 30; 21:25 ::: Radical Underworld: Prophets, Revolutionaries and Pornographers in London, 1795-1840 (1993) - Iain McCalman

Radical Underworld: Prophets, Revolutionaries and Pornographers in London, 1795-1840 (1993) - Iain McCalman [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
This is a paperback edition of a highly acclaimed study of English popular radicalism during the period between the anti-Jacobin government `Terror' of the 1790s and the beginnings of Chartism. Challenging conventional distinctions between `high' and `low' culture, Iain McCalman brilliantly reveals the links between the political underworld and literary culture, poverty, crime, and prophetic religion.

Drawing on information from spy reports and contemporary literature, the book traces for the first time the history of the underground revolutionary-republican grouping founded by the agrarian reformer, Thomas Spence. Challenging conventional distinctions between 'high' and 'low' culture, McCalman illuminates the darker, more populist sides of Romanticism. His underworld of ideas links the Shelleys to pornographer-revolutionaries and political blackmailers, millenarian prophecy to discourses of blasphemy, black revolution and saturnalian theatricality, and radical journalism to the Grub Street undergrowth of bawdy and pornography which sprang up in the opening years of Queen Victoria's reign.

Radical Underworld broadens the conventional boundaries of popular politics and culture by illuminating a political underworld connected with poverty, crime, prophetic religion and literary culture. It is a model of cultural history and a major re-evaluation of its topic. --via Amazon

See also: radical - 1700s - underground literature - English erotica

2005, Sep 30; 13:31 ::: Eighteenth-Century British Erotica (2002) - Alexander Pettit (Editor), Patrick Spedding (Editor)

Eighteenth-Century British Erotica (2002) - Alexander Pettit (Editor), Patrick Spedding (Editor) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Although scholars of the British eighteenth century have become increasingly attuned to questions of sexuality, corporeality, and legalism, they have not heretofore had easy access to one of the period's richest funds of data: the erotica and pornography that permeated the culture.

This set reprints many of the period's most notorious works, including eight The Fifteen Plagues of a Maiden-Head (1707) to Harris's List of Covent-Garden Ladies (1786(?)–93) that resulted in highly publicized court battles and in some instances helped shape laws on censorship that survived into modernity. As they did in the eighteenth-century bookshop, 'homosexual' and 'heterosexual' works intermingle, alongside of works that claim legal, medical, or political legitimacy, and works that pretend to nothing but prurience. Virtually all the works have been out of print since the eighteenth century.

Each volume includes an introduction, individual headnotes, facsimiles of the texts, and annotations.  The first volume includes a general introduction.

The initial volume focuses on the Grub-Street debate prompted by The Pleasures of a Single Life, or, The Miseries of Matrimony (1701). The new genre proved attractive: Pleasures quickly prompted an Answer which ‘confirmd and vindicated’ the comforts of marriage and ‘provd and asserted’ the ‘misery of lying alone’. Other contributions followed, enumerating the comforts of whoring, cuckoldom, and marriage to a ‘wanton wife’, ‘the pleasures of a virgin’; and, most famously, the ‘plagues of a maiden-head’. Answers by ‘bachelors and maids’ and ‘whores and bawds’ appeared throughout the decade.

The second volume contains translations of some of the most famous and influential erotic works of the period. Nicolas Choriers Satyrica sotadica (1660) and Jean Barrins Vénus dans le cloître (1683) were quickly translated into English but immediately suppressed. Prosecutions resulted in the destruction of early editions; the copies reproduced are the earliest extant copies, dating from the early eighteenth century. Venus in the Cloister is doubly important for the role it played in the 1725 prosecution of Edmund Curll, whose case became the basis of English obscene libel law for the next two centuries.

Extended sexual metaphors form the basis of the writings collected in Volume 3. The geographical metaphor is represented by among others Thomas Stretzers New Description of Merryland (1740). Such works discuss the harbours, bays, creeks, roads, clothing and, when the metaphor is exhausted, the ‘history of the gallantries’ of ‘Bettyland’ and ‘Merryland’. The botanical metaphor is represented by The Arbor Vitæ, or, Tree of Life (1732), The Frutex Vulvaria or Flowering Shrub (1732); and The Teague-Root Botanically Considered (1745).

Examples of the most notable development in late eighteenth-century erotica are found in Volume 4: libertine periodicals and guides to prostitutes. The most famous of these are Harris’s List of Covent-Garden Ladies, represented here in the 1773 edition, and The Bon-ton Magazine (1792), represented by the first issue. Also included is the ephemeral Calendar of All the Ladies of Pleasure (1775?).

The final volume focuses on the erotic exploitation of medical and legal discourse, and includes tongue-in-cheek advice from medical quacks about venereal disease and sexual health; satires on the bawdy practices of man-midwives; and accounts of trials for rape, sodomy, criminal conversation (i.e., adultery), and erotic strangulation. Also reprinted are criminal biographies of a highwayman who infiltrated the homosexual underworld of the mollies, a lesbian who disguised herself as a man and married numerous women, and an archetypal rake known as The Rape-Master General of Britain. --http://www.pickeringchatto.com/erotica.htm [Sept 2005]

Table of Contents:

  • The Pleasures of a Single Life, or, The Miseries of Matrimony (1701)
  • The Choice, or, The Pleasures of a Country-Life (1700)
  • An Answer to The Pleasures of a Single Life: or, The Comforts of Marriage Confirmed and
  • Vindicated (1701)
  • The Ladies Choice (1702)
  • The Fifteen Comforts of Matrimony: or, Looking glass for All Those Who Have Entered in That Holy and Comfortable State (1706)
  • The Batchelors and Maids Answer to the
  • Fifteen Comforts of Matrimony (1706?)
  • The Fifteen Comforts of Whoring, or, The Pleasures of a Town-Life (1706)
  • The Whores and Bawd's Answer to The Fifteen Comforts of Whoring (1706)
  • The Fifteen Comforts of Cuckoldom (1706)
  • The Fifteen Comforts of a Wanton Wife (1707)
  • The Fifteen Plagues of a Maiden-Head (1707) The Maids Vindication: or, The Fifteen
  • Comforts of Living a Single Life (1707)
  • The Fifteen Pleasures of a Virgin (1709)
  • The Insinuating Bawd and the Repenting Harlot (1700?)
  • The Constables Hue and Cry After Whores and Bawds (1700?)
  • The London-Bawd: With Her Character and Life (1699/1700?)
  • A Full and True Account of a Dreadful Fire that Lately Broke Out in the Pope's Breeches (1713)
  • Tractatus de Hermaphroditis: or, A Treatise of Hermaphrodites (1718)
  • The Pleasures of Coition; or, The Nightly Sports of Venus (1721)
  • Venus in the Cloister: or, The Nun in Her Smock (1725, for 1724)
  • A Dialogue Between a Married Lady and a Maid (1740)
  • The Sappho An (1749)
  • The Ladies Delight (1732)
  • The Natural History of the Frutex Vulvaria, or Flowering Shrub (1732)
  • Wisdom Revealed; or, The Tree of Life
  • Discovered and Described (1732)
  • Little Merlin's Cave (1737)
  • A New Description of Merryland (1740)
  • A Short Description of the Roads Which Lead to That Delightful Country Called Merryland (1742)
  • The Potent Ally: or, Succours from Merryland (1740)
  • The Machine: or Love's Preservative (1744?)
  • Teague-Root Display'd: Being Some Useful and Important Discoveries Tending to Illustrate the Doctrine of Electricity (1746)
  • An Essay on Woman (1763)
  • Harris's List of Covent-Garden Ladies: or Man of Pleasure's Kalendar (1773)
  • The Only True and Exact Calendar of All the Ladies of Pleasure, Which Are to Be Entered at These Races (1775?)
  • The Temple of Prostitution: A Poem (1779?)
  • The Bawd: A Poem (1782?)
  • The Whore: A Poem (1782?)
  • Nunnery Amusements; or, The Amorous Adventures of a Monk and Nun (1786)
  • The Bon-Ton Magazine; or, Microscope of Fashion and Folly (1791)
  • An Apology for a Latin Verse in Commendation of Mr. Marten's Gonosologium Novum (1709)
  • A Short Narrative of an Extraordinary Delivery of Rabbets (1727, for 1726?)
  • Cunicularii; or, The Wise Men of Godliman in Consultation (1726)
  • The Discovery: or, The Squire Turn'd Ferret (1727, for 1726)
  • The Man-Midwife Unmasqu'd (1738)
  • The Trial of Lady Ann Foley... for Adultery (1778)
  • The History of Colonel Francis Ch-rtr-s (1730) Modern Propensities; or, An Essay on the Art of Strangling (1791)
  • A Genuine Narrative of All the Street Robberies Committed Since October Last, By
  • James Dalton and His Accomplices (1728)
  • A Faithful Narrative of the Proceedings in a Late A air Between John Swinton and George Baker (1739)
  • The Female Husband: or, The Surprising History of Mrs. Mary, Alias Mr. George Hamilton (1746)
--http://bookweb.kinokuniya.co.jp/guest/cgi-bin/booksea.cgi?ISBN=1851967427 [Sept 2005]

See also: 1700s - English erotica

2005, Sep 30; 12:17 ::: Pornodidascalus, seu colloquium muliebre (c. 1535) - Pietro Aretino

Pornodidascalus, seu colloquium muliebre (c. 1535) - Pietro Aretino
Image sourced here.

Pornodidascalus Seu Colloquium Muliebre ...De Astu Nefario Horrendisque. Dolis. Quibus Impudicae mulieres juventuti. incautae insidiantur, Dialogus. Ex Italico In Histranicum Sermonem versus Ferdinando Xuaresio Seviliensis. De Hispanico In Latinum Traducebat, Ut Juventus Germana Pestes diabolicas, apud exteros...Caspar Barthims, Addita Expuonatio Urbis Romae Ab exercitu Caroli Quinti historia paucis nota...

See also: Pietro Aretino - whore dialogues

2005, Sep 30; 11:59 ::: The Whore's Story: Women, Pornography, and the British Novel, 1684-1830 (Ideologies of Desire) (2000) - Bradford Keyes Mudge

The Whore's Story: Women, Pornography, and the British Novel, 1684-1830 (Ideologies of Desire) (2000) - Bradford Keyes Mudge [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
This fresh and persuasively argued book examines the origins of pornography in Britain and presents a comprehensive overview of women's role in the evolution of obscene fiction. Carefully monitoring the complex interconnections between three related debates--that over the masquerade, that over the novel, and that over prostitution--Mudge contextualizes the growing literary need to separate good fiction from bad and argues that that process was of crucial importance to the emergence of a new, middle-class state. Looking closely at sermons, medical manuals, periodical essays, and political tracts as well as poetry, novels, and literary criticism, The Whore's Story tracks the shifting politics of pleasure in eighteenth-century Britain and charts the rise of modern, pornographic sensibilities.

See also: enlightenment - whore - pornograpy - English erotica

2005, Sep 30; 10:52 ::: Taxonomy of L’Encyclopédie (1751)

Taxonomy of L’Encyclopédie (1751)

The "figurative system of human knowledge", sometimes known as the tree of Diderot and d'Alembert, was a tree developed to represent the structure of knowledge itself, produced for the Encyclopédie by Jean le Rond d'Alembert and Denis Diderot.

The tree was a taxonomy of human knowledge, inspired by Francis Bacon's Advancement of Knowledge. The three main branches of knowledge in the tree are: "Memory"/History, "Reason"/Philosophy, and "Imagination"/Poetry.

Notable is the fact that theology is ordered under 'Philosophy'. The historian Robert Darnton has argued that this categorization of religion as being subject to human reason, and not a source of knowledge in and of itself (revelation), was a significant factor in the controversy surrounding the work. Additionally notice that 'Knowledge of God' is only a few nodes away from 'Divination' and 'Black Magic'. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figurative_system_of_human_knowledge [Sept 2005]

See also: taxonomy - tree - hierarchy

2005, Sep 30; 10:07 ::: No Direction Home: The Soundtrack (The Bootleg Series Vol. 7) (2005) Bob Dylan

No Direction Home: The Soundtrack (The Bootleg Series Vol. 7) (2005) Bob Dylan [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Martin Scorsese's film biography No Direction Home was shown on September 26 and September 27, 2005 on the BBC in the United Kingdom and PBS in the United States. A DVD of this film was released on September 20, with an accompanying soundtrack released on August 20, 2005.

See also: Bob Dylan - Martin Scorsese - bootleg

2005, Sep 30; 09:52 ::: The Possibility of an Island (2005) - Michel Houellebecq

The Possibility of an Island (2005) - Michel Houellebecq [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

La possibilité d'une île (2005) - Michel Houellebecq [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

La Possibilité d'une île est le quatrième roman de Michel Houellebecq, publié en 2005 aux éditions Fayard. Il aborde le sujet du clonage et de la création artificielle d'une nouvelle espèce tout en poursuivant la réflexion de l'auteur sur la société contemporaine, en particulier sur les relations entre les hommes et les femmes.

Daniel, qui vit au début du XXIe siècle, rédige son autobiographie ou « récit de vie ». Il y raconte sa carrière de comique professionnel ainsi que sa vie intime et ses relations avec une secte, les Élohimites. De nombreux siècles plus tard, l'un de ses descendants clonés, Daniel24, lit le récit de vie de Daniel et y ajoute son propre commentaire.

Le roman ne désoriente pas les amateurs de Houellebecq : anti-héros partageant le cynisme assumé de l'auteur et son goût pour l'observation sociale, importance des scènes sexuelles, humour, inscription des personnages et des situations dans le cadre d'une théorie des relations sociales, pessimisme radical appuyé ici par de nombreuses références à Schopenhauer. La Possibilité d'une île se place dans la lignée des Particules élémentaires dans la mesure où le roman décrit une transformation fondamentale de l'humanité, alors que Extension du domaine de la lutte ou Plateforme s'intéressaient au destin d'un groupe limité de personnages.

Comme à son habitude, Houellebecq aborde des sujets polémiques en critiquant ouvertement certains de ses contemporains ou en effleurant des sujets tabous pour son époque tels que la pédophilie ou l'inceste, rapidement évoqués. La principale nouveauté de ce roman est le thème des sectes. Il s'inspire des Raëliens pour imaginer les Élohimites, dont il donne une image plutôt positive. Toutefois, fortement affecté par le procès qui lui avait été intenté en 2002 suite à certaines déclarations sur l'islam, il semble, comme son personnage principal qui a bâti sa réputation de comique sur des sketches sulfuriques, vouloir éviter d'aller trop loin dans la provocation. --http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Possibilit%C3%A9_d%27une_%C3%AEle [Sept 2005]

See also: Michel Houellebecq

2005, Sep 30; 09:52 ::: Nude photography

People: Alva Bernadine - Gilles Berquet - Guy Bourdin - Steve Diet Goedde - Nan Goldin - David Hamilton - Irina Ionesco - Richard Kern - Doris Kloster - Eric Kroll - David LaChapelle - Sally Mann - Robert Mapplethorpe - Steven Meisel - Carlo Mollino - Helmut Newton - Bettina Rheims - Paolo Roversi - Thomas Ruff - Jan Saudek - Jeanloup Sieff - Romain Slocombe - Roy Stuart - Jock Sturges - Ellen Von Unwerth - Trevor Watson

See also: nude - photography - erotic photography

2005, Sep 29; 22:32 ::: Lady Audley's Secret (1862) - Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Lady Audley's Secret (1862) - Mary Elizabeth Braddon [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Lady Audley's Secret is a novel by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, written in 1862.

Lady Lucy Audley is a beautiful, doll-like blonde, who in the absence of her first husband George Talboys had been forced by poverty to desert her child and take on a new identity before marrying Lord Audley. When her first husband returns she apparently kills him by accident in a row. Lord Audley's nephew Robert, a barrister, happens to be a good friend of the old husband and decides to find out what happened to him. He does not know about his aunt's past, however, and thus does not connect her to the disappearance of his friend... at first.

Though the novel's content (crime, mostly bigamy and attempted murder) was considered fairly immoral at the time of publication, it was extremely successful. It has been in print ever since in the United Kingdom. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady Audley's Secret [Sept 2005]

See also: 1862 - sensation - novel - UK

2005, Sep 29; 22:25 ::: East Lynne (1861) - Ellen Wood

East Lynne (1861) - Ellen Wood [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Lyn Pykett, University of Wales-Aberystwyth
"... a splendid edition. Its introduction is an authoritative and up to date guide to the novel and its context."--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

East Lynne is a novel of 1861 by Mrs. Henry Wood, sometimes performed as a drama. It is remembered chiefly for its ludicrous plot and for the much-quoted line: "Gone! And never called me mother!" --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Lynne [Sept 2005]

See also: 1861 - sensation - novel - UK

2005, Sep 29; 21:31 ::: The Woman in White (1860) - Wilkie Collins

The Woman in White (1860) - Wilkie Collins [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Cover illustration: Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl (1862).

The Woman in White is a novel written by Wilkie Collins and published in 1860. The Woman in White is widely regarded as the first in the genre of 'sensation novels' and the fist example of mystery fiction. It follows the story of two sisters living in Victorian England with their selfish, uninterested uncle as their guardian. Marian Halcombe is the elder of the two sisters, and a remarkably ugly woman, but with courage, strength and resourcefulness in abundance. The younger, her beautiful half-sister Laura Fairlie, is engaged to a rich man by the name of Sir Percival Glyde.

The story begins when the hero, art master Walter Hartright, arrives to tutor the two sisters, and he and Laura rapidly fall in love. As Walter and Marian together delve deeper into the mystery of a strange woman dressed all in white, uncover the secret history of Sir Percival Glyde, and engage in a battle of wits with the enigmatic 'Napoleon of Crime' Count Fosco, the plot threads combine to produce a fast, thrilling story, leading this particular type of fiction to be described as 'sensation'.

The Woman in White is also an early example of a particular type of Collins narrative, in which several characters in turn take up the narrative of the story, often hearing one incident told from several points of view. This creates a complex web, in which the readers are unsure of who can, and cannot be trusted, and features heavily in many of Collins's writings, including The Moonstone.

The Woman in White was first published as a serial in the magazine All the Year Round, created by Collins's close friend and literary mentor Charles Dickens. Following the success of the serialisation of The Woman in White, Collins also serialised The Moonstone, credited with being the first true detective story, in the same magazine.

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Woman_in_White [Sept 2005]

“Collins was a master craftsman, whom many modern mystery-mongers might imitate to their profit.” —Dorothy L. Sayers

See also: 1860 - sensation - novel - UK

2005, Sep 29; 21:00 ::: The Maniac in the Cellar: Sensation Novels of the 1860s (1980) - Winifred Hughes

The Maniac in the Cellar: Sensation Novels of the 1860s (1980) - Winifred Hughes [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The Sensation novel was a genre of fiction popular in Great Britain of the 1860s. Its main exponents were Wilkie Collins (The Woman in White), Mary Elizabeth Braddon (Lady Audley's Secret) and Mrs Henry Wood (East Lynne). Unlike the Gothic novel, the setting was in Great Britain itself. The Sensation novel ushered in the mystery novel.

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensation_novel

See also: maniac - 1860s - sensation - novel - Victorian era - UK

2005, Sep 29; 19:38 ::: The Sensation Novel: From the Woman in White to the Moonstone (1994) - Lyn Pykett

The Sensation Novel: From the Woman in White to the Moonstone (1994) - Lyn Pykett [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Collins’s novel [The Woman in White] was the beginning of a “Sensation Mania” in the domain of the novel, which would last about a decade. According to an anonymous critic in the Westminster Review this type of novel was like “a virus … spreading in all directions” (Nayder 1997: 71):
"Just as in the Middle Ages people were afflicted with the Dancing Mania and Lycanthropy, sometimes barking like dogs, and sometimes mewing like cats, so now we have a Sensational Mania. Just, too, as those diseases always occurred in seasons of dearth and poverty, and attacked only the poor, so does the Sensational Mania in Literature burst out only in times of mental poverty, and afflict only the most poverty-stricken minds." (O’Neill 1988: 4)
Margaret Oliphant, who, generally speaking, displayed a negative attitude towards the sensation phenomenon, nevertheless acknowledged Collins’s craftsmanship, but feared that he might have instigated a dangerous game with his novel because, she writes, his “disciples will exaggerate the faults of their leader, and choose his least pleasant peculiarities for special study” (Balée 1992: 198). H. L. Mansel, in 1863, reviewed sensation fiction in the Quarterly Review and came to the conclusion that the genre generally subverted female morality in order to shock its readers solely for the sake of shocking them.

The Sensation phenomenon was not confined to literature, but was an all-encompassing phenomenon in the 1860s. The decade of the 1860s was itself indeed characterized by excess on different levels: from sensational courtroom cases (e.g. Madeline Smith, Constance Kent), which were reported lavishly in the newspapers, to melodramas (especially Dion Boucicault), and novels, which even became the stake of numerous bets. Novelists that should be included are Wilkie Collins, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Charles Reade, and Mrs Henry Wood, but even novelists like George Eliot and Anthony Trollope could not escape including ‘sensational’ elements in their work. These sensation novels, also known as ‘fast novels’, ‘bigamy novels’, or ‘adultery novels’, could perhaps best be described as “tales of modern life” (Pykett 1994: 4). Contemporary critics realized this, and this was indeed the main reason for their concern:
"The sensation novel, be it mere trash or something worse, is usually a tale of our own times. Proximity is, indeed, one great element of sensation. It is necessary to be near a mine to be blown up by its explosion; and a tale which aims at electrifying the nerves of the reader is never thoroughly effective unless the scene be laid in our own days and among the people we are in the habit of meeting" (Hughes 1980: 18).

[...] The most shocking element of these novels was indeed the fact that they took place in the every-day domestic sphere of a modern middle-class or aristocratic household. In his review of Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Aurora Floyd Henry James acknowledged this fact:
"[…] those most mysterious of mysteries, [were] the mysteries which are at our own doors… Instead of the terrors of Udolpho, we [are] treated to the terrors of the cheerful country house, or the London lodgings. And there is no doubt that these were infinitely the more terrible." (Pykett 1994: 6)

In referring to Anne Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho James points to the Gothic Novel, from whose ashes, amongst others, the Sensation Novel arose. However, he immediately indicates the main difference between the Sensation Novel and the Gothic Novel, namely the proximity of the Sensation Novel versus the remoteness (in time and place) of the Gothic Novel. Although the terror of the familiar was already manifesting itself in Anne Radcliffe’s ‘explained supernatural’, the threat to middle-class security was considerable lower than in the Sensation Novel.

[...] In reworking material from different genres, the Sensation Novel greedily borrowed from ‘lower-class’ genres, from penny dreadfuls, and especially from popular melodrama. Winifred Hughes sees in the Sensation Novel “for the first time in an age of increasing literacy, […] an undisputed example of “democratic art”” (Hughes 1980: 6). It had origins in lower-class literature and was read by all classes of society. Lyn Pykett analyses the Sensation Novel as both “the product and symptom of quite profound changes in fiction and the fiction market in the mid-Victorian period.” (Pykett 1994: 9)

[...] Indeed, in the Sensation Novel, the heroine is no longer the moral certainty (cf. Lady Audley) she used to be in the traditional romance:
"For whatever reasons, the heroine of the sensation novel has become enmeshed in a sordid tangle of crime, blackmail, and seduction; she has become a participant, however unwilling, as well as merely a victim." (Hughes 1980: 44)
In the most extreme case she is, like Lady Audley, not at all the domestic angel she appears to be:
"Social and moral chaos has spread even to the inner sanctum, infecting the emblem of domesticity. The one island of security and certitude remaining in a tumultuous age has been invaded and despoiled." (Hughes 1980: 45)

[...] As already indicated, formally speaking, the Sensation Novel tended to borrow from different genres:
"Formally sensation fiction was less a genre than a generic hybrid. The typical sensation novel was a catholic mixture of modes and forms, combining realism and melodrama, the journalistic and the fantastic, the domestic and the romantic or exotic." (Pykett 1994: 4)

[...] Winifred Hughes records a contemporary reviewer’s opinion:
"A sensation novel, as a matter of course, abounds in incident. Indeed, as a general rule, it consists of nothing else… . The human actors in the piece are, for the most part, but so many lay-figures on which to exhibit a drapery of incident. Allowing for the necessary division of all characters of a tale into male and female, old and young, virtuous and vicious, there is hardly anything said or done by any one specimen of a class which might not with equal fitness be said or done by any other specimen of the same class. Each game is played with the same pieces, differing only in the moves." (Hughes 1980: 23)

[...] Ultimately, the Sensation Novel did not survive the sensational sixties, mainly because it denotes a transitional model. The sensation novel looked for alternatives for the realistic mode, but did so by looking to past models (popular romance and melodrama), a strategy which ultimately failed because it was not adapted to the new context:
"[…] they were finally unable to detach themselves from the hoary conventions of an obsolescent mode, even though they were responding to a new situation for which they found realism inadequate. The old stereotypes, revived and decked out in modern, middle-class dress, could not quite contain the new meaning. Because of this tension between meaning and form, the sensation novel was discomfiting and controversial to the mid-Victorians." (Hughes 1980: 70) --http://www.guypetersreviews.com/sensation.php [Sept 2005]

See also: Victorian era - 1860s - 1870s - sensation - novel - UK

2005, Sep 29; 19:07 ::: The Literary Underground of the Old Regime (1982) - Robert Darnton

The Literary Underground of the Old Regime (1982) - Robert Darnton [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
Robert Darnton introduces us to the shadowy world of pirate publishers, garret scribblers, under-the-cloak book peddlers, smugglers, and police spies that composed the literary underground of the Enlightenment.

Here are the ambitious writers who crowded into Paris seeking fame and fortune within the Republic of Letters, but who instead sank into the miserable world of Grub Street-victims of a closed world of protection and privilege. Venting their frustrations in an illicit literature of vitriolic pamphlets, libelles, and chroniques scandaleuses, these "Rousseaus of the gutter" desecrated everything sacred in the social order of the Old Regime. Here too are the workers who printed their writings and the clandestine booksellers who distributed them.

While censorship, a monopolistic guild, and the police contained the visible publishing industry within the limits of official orthodoxies, a prolific literary underworld disseminated a vast illegal literature that conveyed a seditious ideology to readers everywhere in France. Covering their traces in order to survive, the creators of this eighteenth-century counterculture have virtually disappeared from history. By drawing on an ingenious selection of previously hidden sources, such as police ledgers and publishers' records, Robert Darnton reveals for the first time the fascinating story of that forgotten underworld.

The activities of the underground bear on a broad range of issues in history and literature, and they directly concern the problem of uncovering the ideological origins of the French Revolution. This engaging book illuminates those issues and provides a fresh view of publishing history that will inform and delight the general reader.

See also: Robert Darnton - literature - underground - underground press

2005, Sep 29; 12:48 ::: Theoretical Girls (c. 1980) - Theoretical Girls

Theoretical Girls (c. 1980) - Theoretical Girls [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

See also: No Wave - Glenn Branca

2005, Sep 29; 11:27 ::: Hartmann Schedel

Hartmann Schedel: Nuremberg Chronicle (2001) - Stephan Fussel [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

In 1493 the most elaborately illustrated book then printed in Europe, the Liber Chronicarum or Weltchronik appeared in print. This major work, by the Nuremberg doctor Hartmann Schedel, generally known as the Nuremberg Chronicle was printed by the foremost printer of the day in Nuremberg, Anton Koberger. It is a history of the world from the Creation to his own day and is remarkable for its illustrations, its graphic design and for its woodcuts and description of cities. The woodcut illustrations include events from the Bible, pictures of human monstrosities, portraits of Kings, Queens, saints and martyrs, and allegorical pictures of miracles. The maps and views, are all by or after the celebrated artists Michael Wohlgemut or Wilhelm Pleydenwurff, and are amongst the earliest printed representations of towns and cities available to us today.

Book Description
Hartmann Schedel's Chronicle of the World, widely known as The Nuremberg Chronicle, after the German city in which it was created, was a groundbreaking encyclopedic work and, at the time, the most lavishly illustrated book ever printed in Europe.

Both a historical reference work and a contemporary survey of urban culture at the end of the 15th century, the Chronicle had a remarkable influence on the cultural, ecclesiastical and intellectual history of the Middle Ages. In over 1,800 superb woodcut illustrations the Chronicle depicted events from the Bible, human monstrosities, portraits of kings, queens, saints and martyrs, and allegorical pictures of miracles, as well as views of a great number of "modern" cities, many of which had never before been documented.

Today, copies of the Chronicle sell for up to $400,000. TASCHEN was granted rare access to an extraordinary hand-colored copy, and has created a complete facsimile of outstanding quality, true to the original in every respect. In case you don't read Old German, the comprehensive annex, with summaries of the book's main stories, provides a user-friendly way to explore this amazing historical masterpiece.

About the Author
Stephan Füssel is Director of the Institute of the History of the Book at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, and holder of the Gutenberg Chair at the same university. He is President of the Willibald Pirckheimer Society for Renaissance and Humanist Studies, member of the board of the International Gutenberg Society and editor of the annual Gutenberg Jahrbuch and Pirckheimer Jahrbuch. He has published widely on early printing, on bookselling and publishing from the 18th to the 20th century, and on the future of communications.

One-eyed monster from Hartman Schedel's Liber Chronicarum (1493).
Image sourced here.

Blemmyae, or headless monster from Hartman Schedel's Liber Chronicarum (1493).
Image sourced here.

Long-eared Phanesians from Hartman Schedel's Liber Chronicarum (1493).
Image sourced here.

Big-lipped monster from Hartman Schedel's Liber Chronicarum (1493).
Image sourced here.

Sciapodes from Hartman Schedel's Liber Chronicarum (1493).
Image sourced here.

Goat-people (satyrs) from Hartman Schedel's Liber Chronicarum (1493).
Image sourced here.

Hartmann Schedel of Nuremberg was one of the first cartographers to make use of the printing press.

Many of the cities featured in his "Schedelsche Welt Chronik", or world chronicle are maps of cities and countries illustrated for the first time ever.

The World Chronicle was published in Nuremberg in 1493. With the recent establishment of the printing press by Johann Gutenberg it rapidly became feasible to print books and maps for a larger customer basis, whereas earlier books had been extremely rare, due to them having to be handwritten. --http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hartmann_Schedel [Sept 2005]

blog archive - previous blog - other blogs and sites

your Amazon recommendations - Jahsonic - early adopter products

Managed Hosting by NG Communications