I’m experiencing a sudden outburst of graphomania.
Though I meant to review the wonderful Feuchtgebiete after I’d read Catherine Millet and Toni Bentley, I decided to publish this piece on erotic memoirs now after finding the (fake) erotic memoirs of Anne-Marie Villefranche. Reading Millet and Bentley will have to wait.
Joie d’amour by Anne-Marie Villefranche
From my wiki on erotic memoirs:
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 Catherine Millet‘s The Sexual Life of Catherine M. (2001), One Hundred Strokes of the Brush Before Bed (2003) by Melissa Panarello, Toni Bentley‘s The Surrender : An Erotic Memoir (2004) and Feuchtgebiete (2008) by Charlotte Roche from the twenty-first.
I continue form my wiki with erotic memoirs of the 19th century.
Sensational journalism such as W.T. Stead‘s The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon (1885) about the procuring of underage girls into the brothels of Victorian London has also 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 vice 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).
Here is a mini-review I wrote on February 17th of Feuchtgebiete:
I have started reading Feuchtgebiete. A very dry, cold and realistic style, almost devoid of poetics. The first page mentions an anal orgasm. There is a memorable scene where the protagonist and her friend take a great deal of drugs from a dealer-friend’s stash, later puke because it was too much, find that many of the pills had not been digested and drink their vomit all up again.
Male viewers pressed for time may want to scrub to 2.37
Tina Aumont (14 February 1946 – 28 October 2006) was an American actress of French, and Dominican descent.
She was born in Hollywood, California, the daughter of actors Jean-Pierre Aumont and Maria Montez who he had met in Hollywood. Maria Montez was known as the Queen of Technicolor, an early camp icon and idol to American experimental filmmaker Jack Smith, whose Flaming Creatures (1963) is basically a travesty on Hollywood B movies and tribute to actress Maria Montez.
Back to Tina
Tina married actor and film director Christian Marquand in 1963, at the age of 17.
She made her debut as Tina Marquand in Joseph Losey‘s 1966 movie Modesty Blaise. She worked in Italian cinema with, among others, Alberto Sordi (Scusi, lei è favorevole o contrario?, 1966), Tinto Brass (L’urlo, 1968 and Salon Kitty, 1975), Mauro Bolognini (Fatti di gente perbene, 1974), Francesco Rosi (Cadaveri eccellenti, 1975), and Federico Fellini (Fellini’s Casanova, 1976).
In 2000 she retired from film work and died in France at age 60.
PS: Tina Aumont was brought to my attention via a Dutch blog. Moon in the Gutter was there before me. Here is a Tina Aumont photo taken by Frédéric Pardo from the site http://paris70.free.fr/ dedicated to French counterculture of the fashionable variety (as contrasted to the political variety). I discover Philippe Bone.
From the back (do you see the other man?)
From the front (see the other man and mind the mirror)
Since my musical activities have moved to Facebook, the only way I can put the popular in the title of the blog to credit is by introducing gratuitous nudity.
Other women of Brass who may be of interest to you:
Dedicated to b.
Donald Westlake‘s recent death has inspired me to research film noir and noir fiction. My fondest memories of the noir thing are probably films such as Jim Thompson‘s Coup de Torchon and Charles Willeford‘s Miami Blues.
I was totally surprised to find references in that film to:
The same astonishment took hold of me when researching Kiss Me, Deadly, Mickey Spillane‘s sixth novel featuring private investigator Mike Hammer. (because of the Signet Books and Fawcett Publications link).
Listen to the following dialogue excerpt (see below). Is there a better way to introduce This Sex which is Not One, feminism and the Oedipus complex and Pussy Talk? Most of contemporary theory is useless without its counterpart in popular culture.
Scrub to 6:30 for the dialog
Christina: You’re angry with me, aren’t you? Sorry I nearly wrecked your pretty little car. I was just thinking how much you can tell about a person from such simple things. Your car, for instance.
Hammer: Now, what kind of a message does it send ya?
Christina: You have only one real lasting love.
Hammer: Now who could that be?
Christina: You. You’re one of those self-indulgent males who thinks about nothing but his clothes, his car, himself. Bet you do push-ups every morning just to keep your belly hard.
Hammer: You against good health or somethin’?
Christina: I could tolerate flabby muscles in a man who may be more friendly. You’re the kind of a person who never gives in a relationship – who only takes. (Sardonically) Ah, woman, the incomplete sex. And what does she need to complete her? (Mocking) Why, man, of course. A wonderful man.
Hammer: All right, all right, let it go. That bus stop will be comin’ up pretty soon and I don’t even know your name.
Christina: You forget. I’m a loony from the laughing house. All loonies are dangerous. Ever read poetry? No, of course you wouldn’t. Christina Rossetti wrote love sonnets. I was named after her.
Christina: Yes, Mike. I got your name from the registration certificate, Mr. Hammer. Get me to that bus stop and forget you ever saw me. If we don’t make that bus stop…
Hammer: (confidently) We will.
Christina: …if we don’t, ‘Remember me.’
The butler visited Diana und Actaeon – Der verbotene Blick auf die Nacktheit with a fellow butler and a maid.
He was thrilled to see Étant donnés by Marcel Duchamp. And he did not realize it also looked like this. He saw the famous metal doll sculpture by Hans Bellmer and Bad Boy by Eric Fischl. He saw the most beautiful penis in post-war photography, yes he meant the Robert Mapplethorpe one.
He saw and liked photographs of the Linley Sambourne collection, paintings by French figuratist Jean Rustin, paintings by Michael Kirkham, his first viewing of the fauvist Erich Heckel, Phryne by French academic cult painter Jean-Léon Gérôme, waxworks by Belgian sculptor Berlinde De Bruyckere, and paintings by Roland Delcol.
Butler wants you to know that the works he pointed to are for reference only and may not correspond to the works at the exhibition. He also wants you to know that some of the links may be NSFW.
La Dormeuse (1765) by Pierre Antoine Baudouin
Recent scholarship by Sholem Stein has revealed that the protagonist reader in this painting by French artist Pierre Antoine Baudouin had been reading either Sinistrari d’Ameno‘s Demoniality Or Incubi and Succubi or Claude Le Petit‘s “Apologie de Chausson.”
The woman reader was previously believed to have fallen asleep of boredom by reading Kant’s Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime, professor Stein now confirms that she probably died of excessive lasciviousness.
Fanny Hill @ 260
“…and now, disengag’d from the shirt, I saw, with wonder and surprise, what? not the play-thing of a boy, not the weapon of a man, but a maypole of so enormous a standard, that had proportions been observ’d, it must have belong’d to a young giant. Its prodigious size made me shrink again; yet I could not, without pleasure, behold, and even ventur’d to feel, such a length, such a breadth of animated ivory! perfectly well turn’d and fashion’d, the proud stiffness of which distended its skin, whose smooth polish and velvet softness might vie with that of the most delicate of our sex, and whose exquisite whiteness was not a little set off by a sprout of black curling hair round the root, through the jetty sprigs of which the fair skin shew’d as in a fine evening you may have remark’d the clear light ether through the branchwork of distant trees over-topping the summit of a hill: then the broad and blueish-casted incarnate of the head, and blue serpentines of its veins, altogether compos’d the most striking assemblage of figure and colours in nature. In short, it stood an object of terror and delight.
But what was yet more surprising, the owner of this natural curiosity, through the want of occasions in the strictness of his home-breeding, and the little time he had been in town not having afforded him one, was hitherto an absolute stranger, in practice at least, to the use of all that manhood he was so nobly stock’d with; and it now fell to my lot to stand his first trial of it, if I could resolve to run the risks of its disproportion to that tender part of me, which such an oversiz’d machine was very fit to lay in ruins.”
Fanny Hill is a fictional character which debuted in 1748 in the novel of the same name as its titular character. Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure as it was originally titled is a novel presented as a memoir (see literary mystification) by John Cleland, written in 1748 while Cleland was in debtor’s prison in London (see also: literature written in prison), often called the first pornographic novel, it has become a byword for the battle of censorship of erotica.
“How should you like to be a virgin again, Fanny?”
The novel was adapted for film several times, most recently in the Andrew Davies-directed BBC serial in 2007. Andrew Wynford Davies (born 1936) is a British author and screenwriter. His film and television adaptations include Othello (2001), Moll Flanders (1992), The Chatterley Affair and Fanny Hill (2007), where Rebecca Night is Fanny Hill.
The book concerns the titular character, who begins as a poor country girl who is forced by poverty to leave her village home and go to town. There, she is tricked into working in a brothel, but before losing her virginity there, escapes with a man named Charles with whom she has fallen in love. After several months of living together, Charles is sent out of the country unexpectedly by his father, and Fanny is forced to take up a succession of new lovers to survive.
What is remarkable and innovative about the novel is that Cleland’s writing style is witty, learned, and full of Classical asides. Also, Fanny herself does not, like Roxana or Moll Flanders, repent. She has no remorse for her education in sex, although she does realize that she is being exploited. Further, Fanny acts as a picara: as a prostitute she shows the wealthy men of the peerage at their most base and private . Samuel Richardson and Daniel Defoe had written about women forced into compromised situations before, and they had hinted graphically enough that the subversive and erotic context was present, but neither made their heroines women of pleasure. Neither of them imputed to their women any joy in their situation, whereas Cleland does.
The novel satirised the literary conventions and fashionable manners of 18th century England, it was more scandalous for depicting a woman, the narrator, enjoying and even reveling in sexual acts with no dire moral or physical consequences. The text is hardly explicit as Cleland wrote the entire book using euphemisms for sex acts and body parts, employing 50 different ones just for the term penis. Two small earthquakes were credited to the book by the Bishop of London and Cleland was arrested and briefly imprisoned, but Fanny Hill continued to be published and is one of the most reprinted books in the English language. However, it was not legal to own this book in the United States until 1963 and in the United Kingdom until 1970.
An obscenity trial of an unexpurgated edition of Fanny Hill in Denmark in 1964 led to the conclusion that pornography was not harmful to adult readers. Pornography was subsequently decriminalized, first in Denmark, the rest of Scandinavia following suit.
This decision influenced obscenity and pornography laws in the United States, because some of the Danish findings (most prominently the work of Dr. Berl Kutchinsky) were republished in the first Presidential Report on Obscenity and Pornogarphy, the so-called Lockhart report.
Fanny Hill is — along with Robinson Crusoe (1719), Pamela (1740), Dom Bougre (1741), Le Sopha, conte moral (1742), Thérèse Philosophe (1748), Les Bijoux indiscrets (1748), Tristram Shandy (1760-1770), The Castle of Otranto (1765), Les Liaisons dangereuses (1782), The 120 Days of Sodom (1785), The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), La Religieuse (1796), The Monk (1796), L’Histoire de Juliette (1797) — one of the undisputable instances of 18th century cult fiction, and central too any serious study of 18th century literature.
There is so much too say about Fanny, I’ll summarize it in a tag cloud:
- 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, Erotic literature, Memoir, European erotica, History of erotic depictions, British erotica, 18th century in literature, Erotomania, Memoirs v. Massachusetts, Whore dialogue, Sexual revolution in Scandinavia/Notes, The Secret Museum: Pornography in Modern Culture, Characters in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Literature written in prison, Jahsonic’s literary canon, Preponderance of female characters, The Lustful Turk comparison to Fanny Hill, A maypole of so enormous a standard, Novel presented as a memoir‘
Let me end with an excerpt, that shows the beauty of the purple prose
“[t]here alone she existed, all lost in those delirious transports, those extasies of the senses, which her winking eyes, the brighten’d vermilion of her lips and cheeks, and sighs of pleasure deeply fetched, so pathetically express’d. In short, she was now as mere a machine as much wrought on, and had her motions as little at her own command as the natural himself, who thus broke in upon her, made her feel with a vengeance his tempestuous tenderness, and the force of the mettle he battered with; their active loins quivered again with the violence of their conflict, till the surge of pleasure, foaming and raging to a height, drew down the pearly shower that was to allay this hurricane.” —Fanny Hill
… and point you in the direction of some valuable remarks on slowed down time in literature:
Colin Wilson aptly observes in the The Misfits: A Study of Sexual Outsiders how John Cleland in Fanny Hill had succeeded to slow down time by which he meant that “the time it takes to read [some scenes] is obviously a great deal longer than the time it took to do.” He goes on to describe how Richardson had done the same in Pamela and Clarissa, assuming that
“Pamela and Clarissa became so real to the reader’s imagination that we want to linger. A century and a half later, Marcel Proust will carry the same assumption to extraordinary lengths, virtually persuading the reader to abandon his normal sense of time. No writer before the time of Richardson would have dreamed of attempting such a feat: Cervantes, Lesage, Defoe, all relied on a profusion of incident to hold the reader’s interest. –page 84.
Richardson and Cleland had the excuse that their era was pre-cinema, Proust wrote his most time-oriented work in In Search of Lost Time (1913 -1927) when cinema was already happening, but not during the sound film era. Is this kind of writing, which slows down time, still done? And how has cinematic time influenced time in literature?
See also: literary technique
Bettie Page, Bizarre nr. 14
If your interest goes just a little bit beyond vanilla sex, you’ve probably come across Bettie Page.
American 2000s documentary
The whole of her is Icon of Erotic Art #38.
Charles Jourdan ad, 1976
I’m not sure when I first consciously came in to contact with his oeuvre, but I am pretty sure it was in the terra cognita that the internet has become by way of this page from the site of music and culture connoisseur Phinn.
However, and although I cannot confirm this, I feel that I had seen the imagery of Bourdin in the pre-internet world, in a Dutch-language magazine called Avenue, which my parents bought during the seventies. It was The Netherlands’ and Flander’s first glossy, and ran from 1965 until 2002. Contributors have included Paul Huf, Eddy Posthuma de Boer, Ed van der Elsken and Inez van Lamsweerde. I distinctly seem to remember the Charles Jourdan shoe photo-ads Bourdin produced during that era. Not coincidentally, Avenue reminds me of that other glossy, Nova magazine, which I covered a couple of weeks ago.
To me, Bourdin can only be compared to his contemporary Helmut Newton (although admittedly I’ve also tentavily compared Ralph Gibson  to Bourdin) because in the words of Charlotte Cotton and Shelly Verthime he “emphasised fetishism, power relationships, and the potential for sexual violence, as well as the artificiality of the image, its gloss rather than its reality.”
You can find Bourdin’s work all over the net.
Can anyone ID the photograper of this cover image?