First edition, second issue (Londres and La Haye imprint).more...
Intended as the first of a projected series of works with the general title Idées singulières, Le Pornographe is an important early manifesto for the regulation of prostitution. It also holds a significant place in the historical etymology of pornography: meaning literally ‘one who writes about prostitutes’, being the first modern coinage of a word used by the ancient Greeks.
Restif issued the work anonymously, presenting it with a preface claiming that the idea was not a French invention at all but one found in the manuscript of an Englishman by the name of Lewis Moore. In a series of letters, the work presents an anatomy of prostitution, noting its inevitability in cities such as Paris and its dangers to public health and morality. Most interestingly, it then outlines a system of regulations, with well-managed maisons publiques, in which prostitutes are required to stay, where they are protected and cared for and where customers are strictly controlled. A major pre-occupation is the contemporary anxiety over the (wrongly) perceived decline in population, a decline to which prostitution was seen to have contributed. Restif proposes that pregnant prostitutes be required to fulfil their pregnancies and that their children should be brought up and educated within the maisons publiques and to take up alternative professions when of age.
This early work by Restif encapsulates both his social realism his utopian aspirations, both of which became major aspects of his later novels.
The imprint is false and the work was published in Paris by Delalain, who sold the author’s works, but who deleted his own name from the imprint after the first impression. The two issues are identical save for the title-page..see full details
Written in prison and first published in 1783, Mirabeau’s learned but witty treatise on the varieties of sexuality in antiquity was immediately banned and issued in very few copies (traditionally only 14).more...
Later editions continued to provoke the censor and are also rare. In this Paris edition, a near-contemporary reader has inserted notes on the early publication of the text, the opinion that Mirabeau presents ‘des tableaux plus licentieux que ceux de l’Aretin’, and Greek transliterations of chapter headings, with definitions.
Pia’s A-342 conforms to this edition, save for the spelling of the first word of the title. Pia gives ‘Errotika’ as in all previous editions, while ours reads ‘Erotika’. This may therefore be Pia’s error, and may also suggest ours is the first edition to bear the modernised title spelling customary in all later editions..see full details
The limitation notice reads ‘This Edition is issued to Subscribers only and limited to two hundred and fifty copies, numbered and signed by the Author. The price will be doubled after first of March, 1931’. This copy is, however, unsigned and unnumbered. The work forms issue no. 5 of The Lugano Series.
‘From 1920 until 1937 Douglas was settled in Florence... As his fame grew, he became much visited by inter-war writers, and forged close friendships with D. H. Lawrence and Bryher. During these years he lived with the publisher Giuseppe (Pino) Orioli, who helped him publish several limited editions, most of which were later commercially published in London... In 1937 Douglas was forced to flee Florence after the police made enquiries concerning his friendship with a ten-year-old local girl’ (Katherine Mullin in Oxford DNB). .see full details