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Gordon (1966) - Edith Templeton

Related: 1966 - British literature - erotic literature - BDSM literature

Gordon (1966) - Edith Templeton
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First published pseudonymously in 1966, Templeton's first novel was banned in England for its sexual content and found an underground following when it was picked up by the notorious Olympia Press two years later. Templeton (The Darts of Cupid) offers a compelling portrait of a woman in postwar London who falls into a submissive relationship. Louisa is the soon-to-be-divorced 28-year-old narrator who gets picked up at a pub by an imperious stranger. She isn't sure how she feels about this enigmatic, chilly, inquisitive man who shows little emotion and forgoes conventional courtship rituals, taking her to his back garden and-to her unexpected pleasure-summarily ravishing her. The stranger turns out to be-what else?-a psychiatrist, Richard Gordon, who continues to anticipate Louisa's thoughts and erotic needs. Gordon has increasingly rough sex with Louisa, holding her in his erotic thrall while remaining aloof throughout the affair. Louisa is entranced with his effect on her and increasingly obsessed with him. The unlikely erotic interludes are intriguing, and Templeton adds a delicious bit of comedy when Gordon and Louisa attend a dinner party as a couple. The idea of a coldly omniscient psychiatrist feels dated, and some of Gordon's psychoanalytic observations are bound to strike readers as unintentionally parodic; he virtually reads Louisa's mind and endlessly prompts her with his impassive "go on." Louisa's predicament, however, is believable and captivating. Templeton's study of submission is psychologically acute, and she brings the couple's oblique power struggle to a fascinating climax.--amazon.com review, Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information

London, 1946. In the aftermath of war, a young woman meets an older stranger in a pub. Within an hour she's had sex with him on a park bench. Within a month she's settled into a relationship of ritual humiliation and subjugation, violence and rape, but perversely a feeling of satisfaction and safety like no other she s experienced.

Banned by the Obscene Publications Act, Gordon gained cult status in the 60s, alongside other shockers like The Story of O and Nabokov s paedo-lit Lolita. But like those, it's lost its outrageousness today, when saying virility instead of penis is amusingly coy and the heroine's Oedipus complex is more glaringly obvious. -- Laura Bushell 06 June 03 via http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/collective/A1069283 [Dec 2005]

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