Tag Archives: pornography

RIP Gillian Freeman (1929 – 2019)

Gillian Freeman was a British writer best known for her book The Undergrowth of Literature (1967), a pioneering study of pornography.

At first I thought I’d not pay her death any attention, since I do not own a copy of The Undergrowth of Literature, the reason I discovered Mrs. Freeman in the first place. But I changed my mind when I found out that the Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library had a copy of this book in its warehouses, so off I was.

Leafing through the book (200 pp.) one finds references to other studies of porn from that era but most of all one is struck by the female point of view. Mrs Freeman is one of the first porn researchers to put forward that female sexual fantasies can be found in women’s magazines:

“I have merely made a survey of current fantasy literature which overtly or covertly, supplies the stimulus which so many people need, from the romance of Woman’s Own to the sado-masochism of Man’s Story” — p. 1

As always the negative criticism is most amusing:

“[the book is] nothing more than a collection of quotes, précis, paraphrases and photographs from current pornographic publications and glossy magazines … there is no love like the liberal prig‘s love for perverts and perversions”. –Stephen Vizinczey,The Times, 4 November 1967

Since Undergrowth is not in Google Books, I thought I’d give you the index. This may be useful to the aspiring pornosopher  although apart from its focus on herstory it does not come near the qualities of Sex in History (1954) and Eros Denied (1964).


Gillian Freeman also wrote the thought sequences dialogue for The Girl on a Motorcycle (1968).

I wonder who is inheriting Mrs. Freeman’s library.