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Cover of an undated American edition of Fanny Hill, c. 1910

Erotic literature comprises fictional and factual stories and accounts of human sexual relationships which have the power to or are intended to arouse the reader sexually.[1] Such erotica takes the form of novels, short stories, poetry, true-life memoirs, and sex manuals. Transgressive sexual fantasies are a common feature of the genre, on such themes as prostitution, orgies, homosexuality, sado-masochism, cross-dressing, incest and many other taboo subjects and fetishes, which may or may not be expressed in explicit language.[2] Satire and social criticism are other common elements. Despite cultural taboos on such material, before the invention of printing circulation of erotic literature was not seen as a major problem, as the costs of producing individual manuscripts limited distribution to a very small group of readers. The invention of printing, in the fifteenth century, brought with it both a greater market and increasing restrictions, which took the form of censorship and legal restraints on publication on grounds of obscenity.[3]


Erotic verse

Sappho, the tenth Muse, fresco from Pompeii

Many erotic poems have survived from ancient Greece and Rome, the authors including Sappho of Lesbos (lyrics), Catullus, Ovid and Juvenal and the anonymous Priapeia. Some later Latin authors also wrote erotic verse, e.g Joannes Secundus. In the Renaissance period many poems were not written for publication and merely circulated in manuscript among a relatively limited readership. Many of the authors are anonymous but John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester is well-known for his explicit writing.[4]

Erotic fiction

Erotic fiction is the name given to fiction that deals with sex or sexual themes, generally in a more literary or serious way than the fiction seen in pornographic magazines and sometimes including elements of satire or social criticism. Such works have frequently been banned by the government or religious authorities. It should be noted, however, that apparently non-fictional works dealing with sex or sexual themes may contain fictional elements; calling an erotic book 'a memoir' is a literary device that is common in this genre. For reasons similar to those that make pseudonyms both commonplace and often deviously set up, the boundary between fiction and non-fiction is often very diffuse.

History of western erotic fiction

Ancient, medieval and early modern erotic fiction

Classic erotica from the Ancient World includes the Song of Songs from the Old Testament and the Roman Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter (later made into a film by Fellini).

From the medieval period we have the Decameron (1353) by the Italian , Giovanni Boccaccio (made into a film by Pasolini) which features tales of lechery by monks and the seduction of nuns from convents. This book was banned in many countries. Even five centuries after publication copies were seized and destroyed by the authorities in the USA and the UK. For instance between 1954 and 1958 eight orders for destruction of the book were made by English magistrates.[5]

From the fifteenth century another classic of Italian erotica is the Facetiae of Gian Francesco Poggio Bracciolini.

Scene from chapter eight of Fanny Hill

The sixteenth century was notable for the Heptameron of Marguerite de Navarre (1558), inspired by Boccaccio's Decameron and the notorious I Modi which married erotic drawings, depicting postures assumed in sexual intercourse, by Giulio Romano with obscene sonnets by Pietro Aretino.[6]

Aretino also wrote the celebrated whore dialogue Ragionamenti.[7] A later work in the same genre was La Retorica delle Puttane (The Whore's Rhetoric) (1642) by Ferrante Pallavicino. Such works typically concerned the sexual education of a naive younger woman by an experienced older woman and often included elements of philosophising, satire and anti-clericalism.[8] Another erotic dialogue, from the seventeenth century, was L'Ecole des Filles (The school for girls) (1655), attributed to Michel Millot and Jean L'Ange. Donald Thomas has translated this bawdy novel L'École des filles, as The School of Venus, (1972), which is described as "both an uninhibited manual of sexual technique and an erotic masterpiece of the first order" on its back cover.[9][10] In his diary Samuel Pepys records reading and (in an often censored passage) masturbating over this work.[11]

A unique work of this time is the closet play Sodom, or the Quintessence of Debauchery (1684) by the notorious Restoration rake, John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester in which Bolloxinion, King of Sodom, prescribes sodomy as the only acceptable sexual practice in the realm. This works well with the soldiers, who spend less on prostitutes as a consequence, but has deleterious effects generally, leading the court physician to counsel: "Fuck women, and let Bugg'ry be no more".[12]

Donatien-Alphonse-François de Sade, the Divine Marquis, drawing by Van Loo

An early pioneer of the publication of erotic works in England was Edmund Curll (1675–1747). The rise of the novel in 18th century England provided a new medium for erotica. One of the most famous in this new genre was Fanny Hill (1748) by John Cleland. This book set a new standard in literary smut and has often been adapted for the cinema in the 20th century.

French writers at this time also wrote erotica. A famous example is Thérèse Philosophe (1748) by Jean-Baptiste de Boyer, Marquis d'Argens which describes a girl's initiation into the secrets of both philosophy and sex.[13] Another example is The Lifted Curtain or Laura's Education, about a young girl's sexual initiation by her father, written by the Comte de Mirabeau; also Les Liaisons dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, first published in 1782.

In the late 18th century, such works as Justine, or the Misfortunes of Virtue and 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade were exemplars of the theme of sado-masochism and influenced later erotic accounts of Sadism and masochism in fiction. De Sade (as did the later writer Sacher-Masoch) lent his name to the sexual acts which he describes in his work.

The 19th century and later

In the Victorian period, the quality of erotic fiction was much below that of the previous century—it was largely written by 'hacks'. Some works, however, borrowed from established literary models, such as Dickens. It also featured a curious form of social stratification. Even in the throes of orgasm, the social distinctions between master and servant (including form of address) were scrupulously observed. Significant elements of sado-masochism were present in some examples, perhaps reflecting the influence of the English public school. These clandestine works were often anonymous or written under a pseudonym, and sometimes undated, thus definite information about them often proves elusive.

Erotic novels from this period include: The Lustful Turk (1828); The Romance of Lust (1873); The Convent School, or Early Experiences of A Young Flagellant (1876) by Rosa Coote [pseud.]; The Mysteries of Verbena House, or, Miss Bellasis Birched for Thieving (1882) by Etonensis [pseud.], actually by George Augustus Sala and James Campbell Reddie; The Autobiography of a Flea (1887); Beatrice; Venus in India (1889) by 'Captain Charles Devereaux'; Raped on the Railway: a True Story of a Lady who was first ravished and then flagellated on the Scotch Express (1894);[14][15][16][17] Flossie, a Venus of Fifteen: By one who knew this Charming Goddess and worshipped at her shrine (1897); My Lustful Adventures by 'Ramrod'; The Way of a Man with a Maid and A Weekend Visit.

Clandestine erotic periodicals of this age include The Pearl, The Oyster and The Boudoir, collections of erotic tales, rhymes, songs and parodies published in London between 1879 and 1883.

The centre of the trade in such material in England at this period was Holywell Street, off the Strand, London. An important publisher of erotic material in the early nineteenth century was George Cannon, followed in mid-century by William Dugdale and John Camden Hotten.[18]

An important and entertaining conspectus and evaluation of nineteenth century (pre-1885) and earlier underground erotica, from the author's own private archive, is provided by Victorian writer Henry Spencer Ashbee in his bibliographical trilogy Index Librorum Prohibitorium (1877), Centuria Librorum Absconditorium (1879) and Catena Librorum Tacendorum (1885). His plot summaries of the works he discusses in three these privately printed volumes are themselves a contribution to the genre. Originally of very limited circulation, changing attitudes have led to his work now being widely available.[19][20]

In 1870 the erotic novella Venus in Furs by Austrian author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, brought the attention of the world to the phenomenon of masochism, named after the author.

Towards the end of the century, a more "cultured" form of erotica began to appear by such as the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne who pursued themes of paganism, lesbianism and sado-masochism in such works as Lesbia Brandon and in contributions to The Whippingham Papers (1888) edited by St George Stock, author of The Romance of Chastisement (1866). This was associated with the Decadent movement, in particular, with Aubrey Beardsley and the Yellow Book. But it was also to be found in France, amongst such writers as Pierre Louys, author of Les chansons de Bilitis (1894) (a celebration of lesbianism and sexual awakening).

Pioneering works of male homosexual erotica from this time were The Sins of the Cities of the Plain (1881), which features the celebrated Victorian transvestite duo of Boulton and Park as characters, and Teleny, or The Reverse of the Medal (1893).

Important publishers of erotic fiction at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth were Leonard Smithers and Charles Carrington, both of whom were subject to legal injunctions from the British authorities in order to prohibit their trade in such material. Because of this legal harassment the latter conducted his business from Paris.[21]

Twentieth century erotic fiction includes such classics of the genre as: Maudie by Anon; Sadopaideia (1907) by Anon; Manuel de civilité pour les petites filles à l'usage des maisons d'éducation (1917) and Trois Filles de Leur Mère (1926) by Pierre Louys; Story of the Eye (1928) by Georges Bataille; Tropic of Cancer (1934) by Henry Miller; The Story of O (1954) by Pauline Réage; Lolita (1955) and Ada, or Ardor (1969) by Vladimir Nabokov; Delta of Venus (1978) by Anaïs Nin and The Bicycle Rider (1985) by Guy Davenport.

Lolita and The Story of O were published by Olympia Press, a Paris-based publisher, launched in 1953 by Maurice Girodias as a rebadged version of the Obelisk Press he inherited from his father Jack Kahane. It published a mix of erotic fiction and avant-garde literary works.

Asian erotic fiction

Chinese literature has a tradition of erotic literature of its own. The most famous novel is the Jin Ping Mei. There is also a tradition of erotic fiction in Japan.

Contemporary erotic fiction

A major development in contemporary erotica has been the discovery that, contrary to some previous preconceptions that it was mainly a male interest, a large percentage of women readers are aroused by it, whether it be traditional pornography or tailor made women's erotica.[22] Romantic novels are sometimes marketed as erotica—or vice versa, as "mainstream" romance in recent decades has begun to exhibit blatant (if poetic) descriptions of sex. Erotic Romance is a relatively new genre of romance with an erotic theme and very explicit love scenes, but with a romance at the heart of the story. Erotic fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy fiction and utilizes erotica in a fantasy setting. These stories can essentially cover any of the other subgenres of fantasy, such as high fantasy, contemporary fantasy, or even historical fantasy.

Erotic fantasy is often very similar to romantic fantasy, but is far more graphic and goes into much more detail when describing sex scenes.

Erotic fantasy can also be found in Fan Fiction. Much erotic fanfic is based on science fiction, fantasy, or "mainstream" television series (e.g., Star Trek, Beauty and the Beast, Highlander, Criminal Minds) and movies (e.g. Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings), using existing characters such as Galadriel or Éowyn, Harry James Potter or Draco Malfoy, in relationships either hinted at or wholly undreamed of by their creators, in genres like slash (homoerotic fic), elf porn, etc. Many recent works of erotic fan fiction use characters from the settings made popular by Dungeons & Dragons such as Dragonlance, and to a lesser extent Forgotten Realms. Fan fiction and its Japanese counterpart, doujinshi, account for an enormous percentage of all erotica being written today; doujinshi mostly hand-published, fanfic mostly online.

Internet erotic fiction

The Internet and digital revolution in the history of erotic depictions, has blurred older forms of representing scenes of a sexual nature, although research indicates erotic literature was available among the poor and performed at public readings in 1700s Britain.[1]

Online bookstores purvey a range of professional, commercial and non-commercial erotic writing.

Where as once access to online erotic fiction was largely restricted to membership or pay sites, in recent years a marked increase in the number of community based, not-for-profit or free access websites has led to an explosion in the level of popularity of this genre.

Increased interactivity and anonymity allows casual or hobby writers the opportunity not only to author their own stories (sometimes based on personal fantasies), but also to share them with a world wide audience.

Many authors adopt colorful pseudonyms and can develop cult followings within their genre, though a small number use (or claim to use) their real names. Among transgendered or genderqueer authors, it is a common practice to adopt a feminine or masculine alter-ego, although it's not unheard of for a writer to use his or her own given name.

Over the years, many non-profit sites have limited themselves to a particular sub-genre (or fetish). Other websites have started and then vanished (or have never been updated or properly maintained).

Erotic memoirs and other accounts

Prostitution was the focus of much of the earliest erotic works. The very term "pornography" is derived from the Greek pornographos meaning "the writing of prostitutes", originally denoting descriptions of the lives and manners of prostitutes and their customers in Ancient Greece. According to Athenaeus in The Deipnosophists these constituted a considerable genre, with many lubricious treatises, stories and dramas on the subject.[23]

Accounts of prostitution have continued as a major part of the genre of erotic literature.

In the eighteenth century directories of prostitutes and their services, such as Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies (1757–1795), provided both entertainment and instruction.

In the nineteenth century the sensational journalism of W.T. Stead's The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon (1885) about the procuring of underage girls into the brothels of Victorian London provided a stimulus for the erotic imagination. Stead's account was widely translated and the revelation of "padded rooms for the purpose of stifling the cries of the tortured victims of lust and brutality" and the symbolic figure of "The Minotaur of London" confirmed European observers worst imaginings about "Le Sadisme anglais" and inspired erotic writers to write of similar scenes set in London or involving sadistic English gentlemen. Such writers include D'Annunzio in Il Piacere, Paul-Jean Toulet in Monsieur de Paur (1898), Octave Mirbeau in Jardin des Supplices (1899) and Jean Lorrain in Monsieur de Phocas (1901).[24]

A very recent work in this genre is The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl (2005) by Belle de Jour.

Erotic memoirs include those of Casanova's Histoire de ma vie from the eighteenth century, 'Walter's My Secret Life from the nineteenth, Frank Harris's My Life and Loves (1922–27) from the twentieth and One Hundred Strokes of the Brush Before Bed (2004) by Melissa P from the twenty-first. It should be remembered, however, that the 'memoir' format recurs repeatedly in erotic fiction. Ian Gibson, in The Erotomaniac, makes an excellent case for My Secret Life being written by Henry Spencer Ashbee, thus casting doubt on the veracity of the whole, highly salacious, book.[citation needed].

In the twenty-first century memoirs of sexual abuse, known as Misery memoirs or Misery porn, have become very popular, though doubts have been cast on the motivation and veracity of some of the writers.[25]

Sex manuals

Sex manuals such as the Kama Sutra are some of the best known works of erotic literature. The Ananga Ranga is a lesser known one, aimed specifically at preventing the separation of a husband and wife. Ovid's Ars Amatoria is a famous example from the classical world.

Legal status

Early legislation

To 1857

Erotic or pornographic works have often been prosecuted, censored and destroyed by the authorities on grounds of obscenity.[26] Originally, in England, erotic or pornographic publications were the concern of the ecclesiastical courts. After the Reformation the jurisdiction of these courts declined in favour of the Crown which licensed every printed book. Prosecutions of books for their erotic content alone were rare and works which attacked the church or state gave much more concern to the authorities than erotica or 'obscene libel' as it was then known. For instance the Licensing Act of 1662 was aimed generally at "heretical, seditious, schismatical or offensive books of pamphlets" rather than just erotica per se. Even this Licensing Act was allowed to lapse in 1695 and no attempt made to renew it.

The first conviction for obscenity in England occurred in 1727, when Edmund Curll was fined for the publication of Venus in the Cloister or The Nun in her Smock under the common law offence of disturbing the King's peace. This set a legal precedent for other convictions.[27] The publication of other books by Curll, however, considered seditious and blasphemous, such as The Memoirs of John Ker, apparently most offended the authorities. Prosecutions of erotica later in the eighteenth century were rare and were most often taken because of the admixture of seditious and blasphemous material with the porn. For instance, no proceedings were taken against the publishers of Cleland's notorious Fanny Hill (1763).

1857 - 1959

It was the Obscene Publications Act 1857 which made the sale of obscene material a statutory offence, for the first time, giving the courts power to seize and destroy offending material. The origins of the Act itself were in a trial for the sale of pornography presided over by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Campbell, at the same time as a debate in the House of Lords over a bill aiming to restrict the sale of poisons. Campbell was taken by the analogy between the two situations, famously referring to the London pornography trade as "a sale of poison more deadly than prussic acid, strychnine or arsenic"[28], and proposed a bill to restrict the sale of pornography; giving statutory powers of destruction would allow for a much more effective degree of prosecution. The bill was controversial at the time, receiving strong opposition from both Houses of Parliament, and was passed on the assurance by the Lord Chief Justice that it was "... intended to apply exclusively to works written for the single purpose of corrupting the morals of youth and of a nature calculated to shock the common feelings of decency in any well-regulated mind." The House of Commons successfully amended it so as not to apply to Scotland, on the grounds that Scottish common law was sufficiently stringent.

The Act provided for the seizure and destruction of any material deemed to be obscene, and held for sale or distribution, following information being laid before a "court of summary jurisdiction" (Magistrates' court). The Act required that following evidence of a common-law offence being committed - for example, on the report of a plain-clothes policeman who had successfully purchased the material - the court could issue a warrant for the premises to be searched and the material seized. The proprietor then would be called upon to attend court and give reason why the material should not be destroyed. Critically, the Act did not define "obscene," leaving this to the will of the courts.

Whilst the Act itself did not change, the scope of the work affected by it did. In 1868 Sir Alexander Cockburn, Campbell's successor as Lord Chief Justice, held in an appeal that the test of obscenity was "...whether the tendency of the matter charged as obscenity is to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences and into whose hands a publication of this sort may fall." This was clearly a major change from Campbell's opinion only ten years before - the test now being the effect on someone open to corruption who obtained a copy, not whether the material was intended to corrupt or offend.

Cockburn's declaration remained in force for several decades, and most of the high profile seizures under the Act relied on this interpretation. Known as the Hicklin test no cognisance was taken of the literary merit of a book or on the extent of the offending text within the book in question. The widened scope of the original legislation led to the subsequent notorious targeting of now acknowledged classics of world literature by such authors as Zola, James Joyce and D.H. Lawrence plus medical textbooks by such as Havelock Ellis rather than the blatant erotica which was the original target of this law.[29]

In contrast to England, where actions against obscene literature were the preserve of the magistrates, in America such actions were the responsibility of the Postal Inspection Service, embodied in the federal and state Comstock laws, named after the postal officer who proved himself most officious in the work of suppression.[30] The first such law was the Comstock Act, (ch. 258 17 Stat. 598 enacted March 3, 1873) which made it illegal to send any "obscene, lewd, and/or lascivious" materials through the mail. Twenty-four states passed similar prohibitions on materials distributed within the states.[31]

Modern legislation

This question of whether a book had literary merit eventually prompted a change in the law in both America and the UK. In the United Kingdom the Obscene Publications Act 1959 provided for the protection of "literature" but conversely increased the penalties against pure "pornography." The law defined obscenity and separated it from serious works of art.

The new definition read:

[A]n article shall be deemed to be obscene if its effect or (where the article comprises two or more distinct items) the effect of any one of its items is, if taken as a whole, such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it.

After this piece of legislation questions of the literary merit of the work in question were allowed to be put before the judge and jury as in the Lady Chatterley trial. The publishers of the latter book were found not guilty by the court on the grounds of the literary merit of the book. In later prosecutions of literary erotica under the provisions of the act, however, even purely pornographic works with no apparent literary merit escaped destruction by the authorities. Purely textual pornographic texts, with no hint of libel, have not been brought to trial since the Inside Linda Lovelace trial collapsed in 1976. However, in October 2008, a man was charged under the Obscene Publications Act for posting fictional written material to the Internet allegedly describing the kidnap, rape and murder of the pop group Girls Aloud.[32]

In the United States, the First Amendment gives protection to written fiction—although in one case, a man pled guilty and was convicted for writing unpublished stories (these were works of fiction concerning sexually abusing children) that were contained only in his personal and private journal. That conviction was later overturned on appeal.[33]

Importing books and texts across national borders can sometimes be subject to more stringent laws than in the nations concerned. Customs officers are often permitted to seize even merely 'indecent' works that would be perfectly legal to sell and possess once one is inside the nations concerned. Canada has been particularly notorious for such border seizures.

It should be noted that, though the 1857 and 1959 legislation outlawed the publication, retail and trafficking of certain writings and images, regarded as pornographic, and would order the destruction of shop and warehouse stock, meant for sale, the private possession of and viewing of pornography has not been prosecuted until recent times.[34] In some nations, even purely textual erotic literature is still deemed illegal and is also prosecuted.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ H. Montgomery Hyde (1964) A History of Pornography. London: Heinemann; p. 1
  2. ^ Phyllis and Eberhard Kronhausen (1969) Erotic Fantasies: a study of the sexual imagination. New York: Grove Press
  3. ^ Hyde (1964); pp. 1-26
  4. ^ Parker, Derek, ed. (1980) An Anthology of Erotic Verse. London: Constable
  5. ^ Hyde (1964); pp. 71-2
  6. ^ Hyde (1964); pp. 75-76
  7. ^ Hyde (1964); pp. 76
  8. ^ Phyllis and Eberhard Kronhausen (1969) Erotic Fantasies: a study of the sexual imagination. New York, Grove Press; pp. 7-8
  9. ^ The original title is L'escole des filles, ou: la philosophie des dames; later editions sometimes ascribe it to M. Mililot (sic). Pascal Durand edited it in 1959.
  10. ^ The School of Venus (orig: L'École des filles, ou la Philosophie des dames) by Michel Millot et Jean L'Ange (New American Library 1971) (Panther 1972) ISBN 0-586-03674-1
  11. ^ Hyde (1964); p. 19
  12. ^ Kronhausen (1969); pp. 26-32
  13. ^ Mark Steel (2003) Vive la Révolution. London, Scribner; pp. 39-40
  14. ^ Lee Grieveson, Peter Krämer, "The silent cinema reader", Routledge, 2004, ISBN 0415252849, p. 59
  15. ^ Ronald Pearsall (1969) "The Worm in the Bud: the world of Victorian sexuality", Macmillan; pp. 321, 364
  16. ^ Peter Mendes, "Clandestine erotic fiction in English, 1800-1930: a bibliographical study", Scolar Press, 1993, ISBN 0859679195, p.319
  17. ^ Alan Norman Bold, "The Sexual Dimension in Literature", Vision Press, 1983, ISBN 0389203149, pp.94,97,102
  18. ^ Hyde (1964): 167-68
  19. ^ Henry Spencer Ashbee (1969) Index of Forbidden Books. Sphere
  20. ^ Steven Marcus (1969) The Other Victorians. London, Corgi; pp. 34-77
  21. ^ Hyde (1964): 177-80
  22. ^ Ms Naughty, A History of Porn for Women 2006
  23. ^ Hyde (1964); pp. 34-44
  24. ^ Mario Praz (1970) The Romantic Agony. Oxford University Press: 443-451
  25. ^ West, Ed (2008-03-05). "Mis lit: Is this the end for the misery memoir?". The Telegraph UK. Retrieved 2008-03-06. 
  26. ^ Hyde (1964); pp. 1-26
  27. ^ "The Obscenity of Censorship: A History of Indecent People and Lacivious Publications," The Erotica Bibliophile. Retrieved 29 May 2006.
  28. ^ Perhaps the earliest known appearance of this ever-popular analogy; compare "I would rather give a healthy boy or a healthy girl a phial of prussic acid than this novel," describing The Well of Loneliness in 1928
  29. ^ Cyril Pearl (1955) The Girl With the Swansdown Seat; p. 270
  30. ^ Hyde (1964); pp. 15-16
  31. ^ Daniel J. Kevles (2001-07-22). "The Secret History of Birth Control". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-10-21. 
  32. ^ Blogger wrote of murdering Girls Aloud
  33. ^ "Ohio man convicted for "obscene" stories in his private journal". Retrieved 2006-10-05. 
  34. ^ H. Montgomery Hyde A History of Pornography. (1969) London, Heinemann: 14


  • Brulotte, Gaëtan & Phillips, John (eds.) (2006) Encyclopedia of Erotic Literature. New York: Routledge
  • Gibson, Ian (2001) The Erotomaniac London: Faber & Faber
  • Kearney, Patrick J. (1982) A History of Erotic Literature
  • Kronhausen, Phyllis & Eberhard (1959) Pornography and the Law, The Psychology of Erotic Realism and Pornography. New York: Ballantine Books
  • Kronhausen, Phyllis & Eberhard (1969) Erotic Fantasies, a Study of Sexual Imagination. New York: Grove Press
  • The Pornographic Imagination in Styles of Radical Will. Picador. 1969. ISBN 0-312-42021-8. 
  • Weller, Michael J. The Secret Blue Book. Home Baked Books,[2], London.
  • Williams, Linda (1999) Hardcore: Power, Pleasure, and the 'Frenzy of the Visible'. Berkeley: University of California Press

Further reading

  • Kearney, Patrick J. (1981) The Private Case: an annotated bibliography of the Private Case Erotica Collection in the British (Museum) Library; compiled by Patrick J. Kearney; with an introduction by G. Legman. London: J. Landesman
  • Oetjen, Almut, ed. (1992 etc.) Lexikon der erotischen Literatur: Autoren, Werke, Themen, Aspekte looseleaf ISBN 3-89048-050-0
  • Brulott, Gaëtan & Phillips, John, eds. (2006) Encyclopedia of Erotic Literature. New York: Routledge
  • "Erotische Literatur" in: Harenbergs Lexikon der Weltliteratur, Band 2, 1989, ISBN 3-611-00091-4
  • "Erotische Literatur" in: Metzler Literatur Lexikon, 2. Aufl. 1990, ISBN 3-476-00668-9
  • "Erotische Literatur" in: Gero von Wilpert, Sachwörterbuch der Literatur, 8. Aufl. 2001, ISBN 3-520-23108-5
  • "Erotische Literatur" in: Der Brockhaus: Literatur, 2. Aufl. 2004, ISBN 3-7653-0351-8



  • Atkins, John (1970) Sex in Literature, 4 vols. 1970-1982
  • Englisch, Paul (1927) Geschichte der erotischen Literatur, 1927, Reprint 1977, ISBN 3-921695-01-5
  • Fischer, Carolin (1997) Gärten der Lust: eine Geschichte erregender Lektüren, Stuttgart ; Weimar: Metzler ISBN 3-476-01563-7, paperback: München: Dt. Taschenbuch-Verlag, 2000
  • Folco, Philippe di, ed. (2005) Dictionnaire de la pornographie. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France
  • Gnüg, Hiltrud (2002) Der erotische Roman: von der Renaissance bis zur Gegenwart, Ditzingen: Reclam ISBN 3-15-017634-4
  • Kronhausen, Eberhard & Phyllis (1969) Bücher aus dem Giftschrank: eine Analyse der verbotenen und verfemten erotischen Literatur
  • Pia, Pascal, ed. (1971) Dictionnaire des œuvres érotiques. Paris: Mercure de France
  • Schreiber, Hermann (1969) Erotische Texte: sexualpathologische Erscheinungen in der Literatur

Ancient world and Middle Ages

  • Leick, G. (1994) Sex and Eroticism in Mesopotamian Literature ISBN 0-415-06534-8
  • Mulchandani, S. (2006) Erotic Literature of Ancient India: Kama Sutra, Koka Shastra, Gita Govindam, Ananga Ranga ISBN 81-7436-384-X

Modern times to 1900

  • Goulemot, J. (1993) Gefährliche Bücher: erotische Literatur, Pornographie, Leser und Zensur im 18. Jahrhundert ISBN 3-499-55528-X
  • Moulton, I. (2000) Before Pornography: erotic writing in early modern Europe ISBN 0-19-513709-4

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