This rare first edition of adventurer Richard Burton’s translation of The Kama Sutra was the first to introduce the radically different Eastern conception of sexuality to 19th century Europe. It is one of just 250 copies printed, and remains the basis of all other European translations of this central text through the swinging Sixties and down to the present day.
Extracted from the respected publication The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine (circa 1868-70), this very rare book gathers lively correspondence on corporal punishment, servicing demand from a distinctly female audience for such titillating material. Blurring distinctions between mainstream and more louche publications, this unique intersection of middle class women’s magazine with Victorian underworld gives lie to the notion that pornography at the time was an exclusively male preserve.
One of only five complete copies known, this remarkable fictionalised erotic ‘autobiography’ recounts the writer’s amorous escapades over the course of 40 years, and some 4000 pages. Much academic ink has been spilled discussing the veracity of England’s answer to Casanova, with most agreeing that it is more fact than fiction. As such My Secret Life offers glimpses of Victorian life behind closed doors, and challenges our preconceptions about tightly corseted and frigid Victorian England.
This fictional autobiography of a Viennese prostitute is the most famous 20th century erotic book in German. It was written anonymously by Felix Salten, who is best known for Bambi, a Life in the Woods (1923), the basis of the 1942 animated classic. Josefine Mutzenbacher, which has never been out-of-print since 1906, was centre-stage in a landmark 1990 test case in Germany’s Federal Court in deciding if freedom of expression or protection of the youth had priority in German Law. Using Josefine as evidence, the court found that art and pornography are not mutually exclusive categories.
These albums of erotic stories and images are the work of German officer Rudi Miesl. Interned in a Texas POW camp between November 1944 and March 1945, Miesl was one of 80,000 POWs held captive in the state by war’s end, all yearning for distraction and something else to look at than the barbed-wire fence. Necessity being the mother of invention, the text and covers are decorated with innocent yet seductive cuttings from American popular magazines. Miesl’s albums were intended for circulation amongst fellow POWs although, as he remarks in the last volume, he found fresh material increasingly hard to come by.