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Erotica - Past & Present
Sometimes scandalous, always collectable, erotica has been an omnipresent aspect of literature, shaking up societal norms since ancient times. Battling censors, doing jail-time, or narrowly escaping death sentences, the real-life adventures of the writers are almost as dramatic as the books themselves. It’s no wonder some of these titles are considered treasures, fetching thousands of dollars.
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The Story of O
The classic erotic novel, The Story of O relates the love of a beautiful Parisian fashion photographer for Rene. As part of that intense love, she demands debasement and severe sexual and psychological tests. It is a unique work not to be missed.
The 120 Days of Sodom and Other Writings
The Marquis de Sade, vilified by respectable society from his own time through ours, apotheosized by Apollinaire as "the freest spirit that has yet existed," wrote The 120 Days of Sodom while imprisoned in the Bastille. An exhaustive catalogue of sexual aberrations and the first systematic exploration -- a hundred years before Krafft-Ebing and Freud -- of the psychopathology of sex, it is considered Sade's crowning achievement and the cornerstone of his thought. Lost after the storming of the Bastille in 1789, it was later retrieved but remained unpublished until 1935.
Venus in Furs
First published in 1870, Venus in Furs gained for its author both notoriety and a degree of immortality when the word "masochism"--derived from his name--entered the psychiatric lexicon. The novel describes the sexual obsessions of Severin von Kusiemski, a European nobleman with the desire "to be the slave of a woman." Severin finds his ideal of voluptuous cruelty in the merciless Wanda von Dunajew.
Story of the Eye
In 1928, under a pseudonym, Georges Bataille published this first novel, a legendary shocker that uncovers the dark side of the erotic by means of forbidden obsessive fantasies of excess and sexual extremes. A classic of pornographic literature, Story of the Eye finds the parallels in Sade and Nietzsche and in the investigations of contemporary psychology; it also forecasts Bataille's own theories of ecstasy, death and transgression which he developed in later work.
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty
In the traditional folk tale Sleeping Beauty, the spell cast upon the lovely young princess and everyone in her castle can only be broken by the kiss of a Prince. Anne Rice's retelling of the Beauty story probes the unspoken implications of this lush, suggestive tale by exploring its undeniable connection to sexual desire.
Delta of Venus
In Delta of Venus, Anaïs Nin penned a lush, magical world where the characters of her imagination possess the most universal of desires and exceptional of talents. Among these provocative stories, a Hungarian adventurer seduces wealthy women then vanishes with their money; a veiled woman selects strangers from a chic restaurant for private trysts; and a Parisian hatmaker named Mathilde leaves her husband for the opium dens of Peru.
The Amorous Exploits of a Young Rakehell
Guillaume Apollinaire's account of a 15-year-old budding libertine's summer on the farm, where he congresses with maids, servants, passersby, an aunt and finally a sister, while outside the manor peasants go for creatures of the four-legged variety, is a classic unparalleled in its content, brevity and wit.
The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth
The Mammoth Book of Illustrated Erotica
Best Women's Erotica 2004