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).
Some people don’t make the news when they die. Among them this gentleman.
William Hamling was an American publisher of pulp and erotica, in a time when publishing books could still be dangerous (it has not been dangerous for the last fifty years of so, at least in the west). His financial backing for the case Redrup v. New York against Robert Redrup, a book seller who sold Hamling’s risqué paperbacks was instrumental in abolishing obscenity censorship in the United States.
Both its editor Earl Kemp and Hamling himself were sentenced to one year in prison for “conspiracy to mail obscene material,” but both served only the federal minimum of three months and one day. Incredible if you come to think of it (and strange also, considering that the Redrup case supposedly abolished obscenity censorship).
I would have thought a complete version of this grand example of détournement to have been available by now, disappointingly so, this is not the case.
I’ve never been able to find out the identity of the author of the illustration on the cover. It’s in the skinny style of Raphael Kirchner (1867– 1917) and Léo Fontan (1884 – 1965) which was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. That’s all I know. Anyone?
I’ve always had a soft spot for the Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich (1897 – 1957) and while researching Freudo-Marxism I investigated him in some greater depth and stumbled upon the acronym Sexpol.
“It is a question of fully affirming, of aiding and safeguarding, the free and healthy life manifestations of the newborn, of children, adolescents, women and men, in an unmistakable manner which forever excludes any social fraud.”