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Erotic books

Parent categories: erotica - books

Subgenres erotic art books - erotic fiction - erotic photography books

"One person's erotica is another person's pornography."

Story of O (1954) - Pauline Réage et al [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Recommended: Carlo Mollino: Polaroids [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Erotic books

The history of erotic books runs parallel with the history of printing technologies on the one hand, and the history of sexual morality on the other.

Erotic books can contain text, illustrations and photographs.

Prior to the arrival of erotic films, erotic books were man's main source of erotic gratification.

Erotic fiction

Erotic literature is literature, either as a form of erotica written to arouse the reader, or to give instruction in sexual technique. Most erotic literature is of novel length, although there are also erotic short stories. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erotic_literature [2004]

There is a substantial overap between erotic literature and pornography, with the distinction typically being made on perceived literary merit. This is particularly true of works aimed at men, which generally use explicit sexual imagery. Many banned books have been suppressed because they used erotic imagery.

While there are substantial quantities of written pornographic works, very few of these come near the standards of mainstream literature.

Works of significant literary merit than can be classed as erotic literature include:

--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erotic_literature [Jan 2005]

List of authors of erotic works This is a list of notable authors of erotic literature.

Sex manuals [...]

  • Vatsayana -- famous for the Kama Sutra
  • Ovid -- Roman author famous for the Ars Amatoria

    Fiction [...]

  • Li Yu -- author of The Carnal Prayer Mat
  • Laura Antoniou -- author of The Marketplace
  • Aran Ashe
  • Georges Bataille
  • Penny Birch
  • Patrick (Pat) Califia -- author of Macho Sluts
  • John Cleland -- author of Fanny Hill
  • James Joyce
  • Arabella Knight
  • D. H. Lawrence -- author of Lady Chatterley's Lover
  • William Levy
  • Leopold von Sacher-Masoch -- author of Venus in Furs
  • Barry N. Malzberg--author of Screen and writer/editor for Olympia Press
  • Henry Miller -- author of Tropic of Cancer
  • Anais Nin
  • Pauline Réage -- author of Histoire d'O
  • Anne Rice, also writing as A. N. Roquelaure
  • Catherine Robbe-Grillet
  • the Marquis de Sade -- author of Justine, or the Misfortunes of Virtue
  • Wendy Swanscombe
  • Alexander Trocchi
  • Mark Twain -- author of 1601


  • Catullus -- Roman erotic poet
  • Sextus Propertius -- Roman poet
  • Sappho -- Greek poetess from the island of Lesbos who wrote love poetry to young women.


  • Catherine Millet
  • Frank Harris
  • "Walter", author of My Secret Life
  • Lisa B. Falour
  • Nancy Friday

    --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_authors_of_erotic_works [Feb 2005]

    Taschen [...]

    The art book publisher Taschen has been a prominent force in getting fetishistic imagery accepted into the mainstream, by publishing the works of fetish artists and fetish photographers alongside its mainstream output of books of photographs of art, design and architecture.

    Erotic comics

    Georges Pichard (D'après "Trois filles de leur mère" de Pierre Louÿs)

    Marie-Gabrielle - George Pichard [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Erotic film

    Immoral Tales: European Sex & Horror Movies 1956-1984 - Cathal Tohill, Pete Tombs [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    "I urge you: learn how to look at 'bad' films, they are so often sublime." This remark by Ado Kyrou heads up the introduction to Immoral Tales, from which horror and exploitation film fans, especially Americans, can learn much indeed. Not so much a movie guide as an insightful critical overview of European sex/horror films (there is much overlap between the two genres), this book is elegantly organized into a sequence of essays proceeding from general themes (the history of horrific art, the surgical metaphor), to regional styles (Italian, German, French, Spanish), to individual directors (Jesus Franco, Jean Rollin, José Larraz, José Bénazéraf, Walerian Borowczyk, Alain Robbe-Grillet). The writing is intelligent, engaging, and packed with fascinating historical and technical details. The book includes plenty of photos and poster art (including many in color), a useful appendix covering miscellaneous actors and directors, an index, and a bibliography. Immoral Tales was a finalist for the 1995 Bram Stoker Award in Nonfiction.

    Erotic photography

    Carlo Mollino: Polaroids - by Fulvio Ferrari, Napoleone Ferrari [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Sex manual

    Kama Sutra - Vatsyayana [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    The galaxy of pleasures in Alain Daniélou's translation of the Kama Sutra takes you back to an India where sexuality was an integral part of life and an avenue to spiritual bliss. As Devadatta Shastri says in his commentary: "At the moment when the peak of bliss is attained, the internal and external world vanish. The man and woman cease to be separate entities and lose themselves in the beatitudes of being." Daniélou's elegant rendering includes not only the entire sutra, much of which is excluded in other versions, but two essential commentaries as well. More than just a pillow book, the Kama Sutra is a guide to the labyrinth of sexual etiquette, from how to bathe before meeting a lover to how lovers should entertain each other after making love. Admittedly, the text is dated and culture bound in places; it can be chauvinistic, bizarre, and even violent. The commentators are careful to point out, however, that the work is an overview of all sexual practices, some of which are not recommended. Take from this encyclopedia of amour what you will and let it keep you moving down the path of spiritual practice. --Brian Bruya

    From Library Journal
    Long dismissed as a sort of Sanskrit Joy of Sex , the Kama Sutra , composed by Vatsyayana in the fourth century B.C., explores sexuality as an integral part of human existence. Arguing that happiness and moral duty ( dharma ) depend on elaborate social ritual to satisfy the essential needs of life, the Kama Sutra describes the practices, rituals, and lore of the erotic ( kama ) in human relations, both heterosexual and homosexual. Noted Indiologist Danielou provides a fluent and literal... read more --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

    Book Description
    This definitive volume is the first modern translation of Vatsyayana's Kama Sutra to include two essential commentaries: the Jayamangala of Yashodhara and the modern Hindi commentary by Devadatta Shastri. Alain Danilou spent four years comparing versions of the Kama Sutra in Sanskrit, Hindi, Bengali, and English, drawing on his intimate experience of India, to preserve the full explicitness of the original. I wanted to demystify India, he writes, to show that a period of great civilization, of high culture, is forcibly a period of great liberty. --via amazon.com

    Bookleggers and Smuthounds: The Trade in Erotica, 1920-1940 (2001)- Jay A. Gertzman

      Bookleggers and Smuthounds: The Trade in Erotica, 1920-1940 (2001)- Jay A. Gertzman [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

      This is a wonderfully conceived and splendidly executed history of the most important formative period of American erotica. Here, thanks to Gertzman's scholarship, the reader will find information available nowhere else: on marginal publishers and sexy books, and on the police and officials who tried to suppress them. The book chronicles investigations and campaigns by assorted smuthunters such as the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, the Post Office, ambitious district attorneys, and the FBI. Gertzman breaks out the huge volume of erotica from underground presses into useful categories, and discusses each in detail, having drawn on neglected archives and hard-to-find resources. For all its careful scholarship, the book is a fine read. The discussion of Samuel Roth, perhaps the most notorious of all American pornographers, is itself worth the price of the book, because it allows Gertzman to speculate on the essential value of pornographers to a culture. --Joseph Slade via amazon.com

      The author tackles the question of why people who distributed books which were banned or critized as pornography were often Jewish. He has done his homework, digging up prominent examples, and makes comparisons between the other kinds of dirty jobs immigrants and their sons did, and the publishing and selling of smut. Sometimes, this "smut" was great literature; sometimes it was just plain curious and brought in good money during the depression. You get to know some of these men pretty well. You do not like them much, maybe, but you do understand. The author does a good job of explaining the career of the most famous of these publishers, a very complex and haunted man you diskike, but feel sorry for too. --Adele Greenberg via amazon.com

      Why did I write this book? In downtown Philadelphia in June 1960, a "raiding party of five county detectives"--followed closely by TV reporters and their cameras--visited my uncle Ben's book shop. Bail for the clerk, his brother Isadore--my father--was set at $500. Isadore was seen on the local TV news that night trying to move the NBC microphone far enough from his face to wave the police off the premises; he said they were "hurting his business." "The books sold," said the Assistant District Attorney, "Would arouse any man, unless he were made of stone." But plenty of copies were available in any event, and could always be safely purchased at the local department stores. My uncle was just a businessman, but he sold material which could be seen as sexually explicit and therefore harmful. He was a "pariah capitalist," and had developed a certain range of talents and a healthy amount of chutzpah. In _Bookleggers and Smuthounds _I try to describe the reasons for prosecuting this sort of businessman, and how these "bookleggers" of the roaring twenties and hungry thirties distributed the wide range of materials they did. As I studied the interaction between the bookleggers and the smuthounds, I become convinced of a salient fact: publishers of erotica and the moralists who attacked them during the mid-twentieth century had (as they continue to have; see my Epilogue) a subtle symbiotic relationship. As good businesspeople, erotica distributors necessarily appealed to prurient fascination. Because they invited their clients to indulge curiosities which kept intact the association of sex with obscenity and shameful silence, the blunt fact of their existence provided the anti-vice crusaders with the public enemy they needed to show how fascination with sex was indeed a vice exploited by people with contempt for purity. One bookseller above all shouldered the burden of being a "dirty books man," and accumulated the emotional scars of being a pariah capitalist. This was Samuel Roth, the first to publish an unexpurgated edition of Lady Chatterley's Lover in America. My final chapter is about the way this complex individual advertised his books, defined himself, and defied authority. I hope to show, by describing his career, the conflicted motives and psychic pressures of dealing in erotica in the interwar years, when books were still a chief means of communication, and when it was "sex o'clock in American literature." --Jay A. Gertman

      The erotic arts

      The Erotic Arts (1975) - Peter Webb [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

      Bought it at De Slegte Jul 31, 2004, a second hand bookstore in Antwerp, Belgium. Very well referenced and I like the early seventies point of view. The version on Amazon is a revised edition of 1983. Has an interview with Hans Bellmer. Recommended. The US has the cheapest version, although they may not ship to America. Available in France for 60 Euro.

      Even one of the most liberal advocates of the freedom to read and see sexually explicit art, Peter Webb, author of The Erotic Arts (1975), completely loses his case when he accepts one definition of "pornography" by saying that it is linked to "obscenity" rather than to "eroticism." As I see it, the adjective "erotic" is simply used to describe an obscenity more than a hundred years old. It is very much a matter of the hallowed past, and a game with words that operates on the principle by which "second-hand" furniture eventually becomes "antique." At least in popular usage. --http://www.infopt.demon.co.uk/pornogra.htm [Aug 01]

      Table of contents

      • Art and Pornography
      • Sexual Themes in Ancient and Primitive Art
      • Eroticism in Oriental Art and Religion
      • Sexual Attitudes in Victorian Art and Literature
      • Twentieth-Century Erotic Art
      • The Erotic Novel
      • Eroticism in Films
      • Eroticism in Performing Arts
      • The Theatre of Celebration.

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