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  • ‘Maruyama-ha Fūga-chō’ [later cover title]. by (EROTICA --- SHUNGA). (EROTICA --- SHUNGA). ~ ‘Maruyama-ha Fūga-chō’ [later cover title]. Japan, late Edo period, c. 1780-1820.
    Twelve superb paintings on silk (six pairs), each a couple making love, with one image showing faces, the other, their genitals, in each case provocatively… (more)

    Twelve superb paintings on silk (six pairs), each a couple making love, with one image showing faces, the other, their genitals, in each case provocatively and playfully framed to present a detail only. The paintings of each pair are linked by subtle details of clothing, sometimes suggested through a small glimpse of a pattern or a colour found in its counterpart. They are probably cuttings rescued from a refined and elegant hand scroll or hanging scroll of a larger size, wittily preserved in pairs. These are rare survivals of very high status shunga painting of the decades around 1800. The later title label on the album cover attributes them to the so-called ‘Maruyama School’ of Kyoto, but they have more in common with the sophisticated erotic silk paintings of high status artists such as Chôbunsai Eishi working around 1800. Several such paintings, on scrolls, are reproduced in the British Museum exhibition catalogue Shunga: Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art (2013), see illustrations 56 and 57.

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  • [14 coloured erotic cards]. by (EROTICA). (EROTICA). ~ [14 coloured erotic cards]. [?Farnce, c. 1920s].
    14 rare belle époque cards, including: ‘Au Pompe-Dard — Pumping Fashion’; ‘Position du tireur debout — Standing fashion’; ‘Enviander les Brancards — Between the Shafts’,… (more)

    14 rare belle époque cards, including: ‘Au Pompe-Dard — Pumping Fashion’; ‘Position du tireur debout — Standing fashion’; ‘Enviander les Brancards — Between the Shafts’, etc.

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  • My Darling and I. by (EROTICA). (EROTICA). ~ My Darling and I. [Paris, c. 1940s].
    A series of witty and finely executed erotic miniatures, presumably a Paris souvenir made with an anglophone audience in mind, most likely the American servicemen… (more)

    A series of witty and finely executed erotic miniatures, presumably a Paris souvenir made with an anglophone audience in mind, most likely the American servicemen in Paris after 1945.

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  • Apologia pro Oscar Wilde. by (WILDE). YOUNG, Dalhousie. (WILDE). YOUNG, Dalhousie. ~ Apologia pro Oscar Wilde. London: William Reeves, [ 1895].
    First edition of this defence of Wilde by his loyal friend, composer and pianist, Dalhousie Young. ‘Published after Oscar Wilde's trial, during which Wilde's works… (more)

    First edition of this defence of Wilde by his loyal friend, composer and pianist, Dalhousie Young. ‘Published after Oscar Wilde's trial, during which Wilde's works were used as evidence of his ‘immorality'’ Apologia pro Oscar Wilde sets out to defend Wilde and his writing. Dalhousie Young argues that a work of fiction is not automatically a work of autobiography; fiction does reveal an author's inner secrets or true character. Powerfully, Young furthermore publicly questions whether it is right that sexual acts between two consenting adults of the same sex should be outlawed (see p. 38), or looked upon as a ‘sin’’ (British Library).

    This is the second of two issues of the first edition, distinguished by its darker wrapper. Millard, Bibliography of Oscar Wilde, p. 574, no. 679.

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  • An Elegy on the lamented Death of the Electrical Eel, or Gymnotus Electricus. With the lapidary Inscription, as placed on a superb Erection, at the Expence of the countess of H---------, and Chevalier-Madame d’Eon de De Beaumont. By Lucretia Lovejoy, Sister to Mr. Adam Strong, Author of The Electrical Eel. by (PERRY, James, answer to). ‘LOVEJOY, Lucretia’, pseudonym. (PERRY, James, answer to). ‘LOVEJOY, Lucretia’, pseudonym. ~ An Elegy on the lamented Death of the Electrical Eel, or Gymnotus Electricus. With the lapidary Inscription, as placed on a superb Erection, at the Expence of the countess of H---------, and Chevalier-Madame d’Eon de De Beaumont. By Lucretia Lovejoy, Sister to Mr. Adam Strong, Author of The Electrical Eel. London: T. Hookham, Hanover-Street, and J. Bew, Paternoster-Row, 1779.
    A rare satirical elegy and epitaph for the celebrated electrical eel, who could no longer rise to the occasion. A reissue of the sheets of… (more)

    A rare satirical elegy and epitaph for the celebrated electrical eel, who could no longer rise to the occasion. A reissue of the sheets of the first edition of 1777 with a cancel title, of this elaborate addition to the corpus of salacious 1770s pamphlets devoted to the subject of the electrical eel, a topic of serious scientific enquiry and popular merriment. This one continues the phallic joke and manages to draw in the hapless Chevalier D’Eon (whose sex was then popularly debated) alongside the lecherous Earl of Harrington.

    ‘If the Gymnotus Electricus, lately exhibited to the Public, be really dead, it is to be hoped that we shall have no more of these witty indecencies’ (Monthly Review, Nov. 1777). ESTC: Harvard and Princeton only worldwide of this issue. ESTC gives the pagination [4], 29, [1], but both the 2 copies reported have only pp [2] before title, as here, though it is perhaps likely the work was issued with a half-title or initial blank not present in surviving copies.

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  • Dernière lettre du chevalier D’Eon à M. le Comte de Guerchy en datte du 5 Aout, 1767. Avec l’extrait de la procedure en bonne forme... seconde edition. by [EON DE BEAUMONT, Charles Geneviève Louis Auguste André Timothée, chevalier d’]. [EON DE BEAUMONT, Charles Geneviève Louis Auguste André Timothée, chevalier d’]. ~ Dernière lettre du chevalier D’Eon à M. le Comte de Guerchy en datte du 5 Aout, 1767. Avec l’extrait de la procedure en bonne forme... seconde edition. Amsterdam: Aux dépens du corps des Militaires François, 1767.
    A notorious pamphlet by the famous transvestite spy, issued during one of the most colourful and tangled episodes of Anglo-French diplomacy. This ‘seconde’ edition issued… (more)

    A notorious pamphlet by the famous transvestite spy, issued during one of the most colourful and tangled episodes of Anglo-French diplomacy. This ‘seconde’ edition issued at the expense of the corps des Militaire François in D’Eon’s defence. The first edition (also 1767) bore a Londres imprint and survives in only a handful of copies; our Amsterdam edition is even rarer with no copies located in Worldcat.

    Following a successful military career d’Eon served Louis XV in English diplomacy and espionage from 1762, gathering defence intelligence for a projected French invasion. Living lavishly in London he became something of an embarrassment to his government who stopped his pension and sought to recall him to France. He became embroiled in a bitter row with his compatriot Claude Louis François Régnier de Guerchy (1715–1767), who he saw as an interloper on his diplomatic patch. ‘From October 1763 the dispute took a spectacular turn as d’Eon published allegations that Guerchy had tried to poison him. In March 1764, he went further still and published a selection of his diplomatic papers, which heaped ridicule on Guerchy and his allies in France’ (Burrows, A King’s Ransom). The dispute was a profound embarrassment to the French, not least because d’Eon successfully brought the matter to the English courts and because it drew attention to the chevalier’s increasingly complex personal life. It was in the wake of this affair that the chevalier went into hiding in Byfleet (Surrey), spending a years disguised as a woman and going by the name of Madame Duval. This transvestite experiment became a pattern and the remainder of his career was lived partly as a woman and he became a celebrated figure in London society.

    This pamphlet, a superb piece of propaganda issued on d’Eon’s behalf appeared after the comte de Guerchy’s death in 1767 and reproduces the last letter sent to him by d’Eon recounting the facts of the poisoning case together with extensive translations from English legal records of the law case as it worked its way, very publicly, through the courts.

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  • The Electrical Eel: or, Gymnotus electricus. Inscribed to the Honourable Members of the R***l S*****y, by Adam Strong [pseud.], Naturalist. by [PERRY, James] ‘Adam STRONG’, [pseudonym]. [PERRY, James] ‘Adam STRONG’, [pseudonym]. ~ The Electrical Eel: or, Gymnotus electricus. Inscribed to the Honourable Members of the R***l S*****y, by Adam Strong [pseud.], Naturalist. London: Printed for J. Bew... 1777.
    First edition. ‘A satirical poem on the amours of various members of the nobility’ (ESTC) or, as the Monthly Review succinctly put it: ‘Poetical smut.… (more)

    First edition. ‘A satirical poem on the amours of various members of the nobility’ (ESTC) or, as the Monthly Review succinctly put it: ‘Poetical smut. Rochester revived.’ A number of imitations and replies were elicited. It is early work by Perry (formerly ‘Pirie’, 1756–1821), a Scottish journalist recently arrived in London ‘to try to break into the literary world’ (Oxford DNB). By the end of his career he had become ‘one of the most notable journalists of the age when the newspaper press was becoming established as a force in the country’ (ibid.)

    Studies of Gymnotus electricus by members of Royal Society and their correspondents had captured the imagination of the British public in unexpected ways. While the investigations of Walsh and Hunter made genuine discoveries into the nature of electricity (which culminated in the invention of Volta’s battery), contemporary wits and pamphleteers took advantage of the phallic connotations of the eel and its electrical properties to deride the sexual peregrinations of London society.

    In this copy several of the printed lacunae have been filled in by a contemporary hand, identifying Lady Sarah Bunbury and Lady Grafton, among others, as devotees of the electrical eel. Jackson, p. 52.

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  • The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana translated from the Sanskrit. In seven parts, with preface, introduction, and concluding remarks. by [BURTON, Richard Francis, Sir, translator]. [BURTON, Richard Francis, Sir, translator]. ~ The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana translated from the Sanskrit. In seven parts, with preface, introduction, and concluding remarks. ‘Reprint: Cosmopoli: MDCCCLXXXIII: for the Kama Shastra Society of London and Benares, and for private circulation only.’ 1883 [but later].
    Despite the date 1883, this is likely to be one the numerous re-issues made within a few years copying the 1883 reprints very closely and… (more)

    Despite the date 1883, this is likely to be one the numerous re-issues made within a few years copying the 1883 reprints very closely and often distinguishable only though minor issue points and by the paper on which they are printed. This copy, uncut, is smaller than the dimensions given for the first four reprints listed by Penzer. Penzer, An Annotated Bibliography of Sir Francis Burton, p. 163-167

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  • Ananga-ranga; (Stage of the bodiless One) or, The Hindu Art of Love. (Ars amoris indica.) Translated from the Sanskrit... by [BURTON, Richard Francis, Sir and Forster Fitzgerald ARBUTHNOT, translators]. [BURTON, Richard Francis, Sir and Forster Fitzgerald ARBUTHNOT, translators]. ~ Ananga-ranga; (Stage of the bodiless One) or, The Hindu Art of Love. (Ars amoris indica.) Translated from the Sanskrit... ‘Reprint: Cosmopoli, MDCCCLXXXV for the Kama Shastra Society of London and Benares, and for private circulation only,’ 1885.
    In 1873, Burton prepared an anonymous literal translation of the Kama-Shastra or The Hindoo Art of Love, of which only six copies were printed. It… (more)

    In 1873, Burton prepared an anonymous literal translation of the Kama-Shastra or The Hindoo Art of Love, of which only six copies were printed. It was planned to reissue the work in 1885, but only proofs appeared before plans for publication were abandoned. However, no less than three reprints appeared soon after, all bearing the date 1885.

    This copy, printed on thick, watermarked paper, conforms to Penzer’s description of the first reprint edition, being ‘slightly broader than the subsequent reprints’, though he had not personally seen a copy of this edition. Burton's Kama Shastra Society and its quasi-scholarly publication of erotic material served as the model for Leonard Smithers’ later Erotika Biblion Society. Penzer, An Annotated Bibliography of Sir Francis Burton, pp. 171-173.

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  • Manual of classical Erotology (De figuris Veneris)... Latin text and literal English version. by (CARRINGTON, Charles, publisher). FORBERG, Friedrich Karl. (CARRINGTON, Charles, publisher). FORBERG, Friedrich Karl. ~ Manual of classical Erotology (De figuris Veneris)... Latin text and literal English version. ‘Manchester One Hundred Copies privately printed for Viscount Julian Smithson M.A. and friends’ [Paris: Charles Carrington], 1884.
    First edition of this important parallel English, Latin and Greek version. It followed a poor piracy of 1882 badly translated from Liseux’s French edition of… (more)

    First edition of this important parallel English, Latin and Greek version. It followed a poor piracy of 1882 badly translated from Liseux’s French edition of 1882. Carrington gave a wry veiled account of its publication in his 1902 catalogue, Forbidden Books: ‘Were I a bookseller, I do not think I should ever take the trouble to print such a book as I have now before me. Here is a Latin work, full of notes, and bristling with Greek quotations. A most careful and masterly translation has been placed opposite every page of the original text, and it needs no literary critic to see that no one but a real classical scholar—an old Oxford man—could ever have successfully struggled with such a task... The two stout volumes have evidently been printed on the Continent—and for very good and valid reasons, as no English printer would dare to undertake such a work,— therefore each page would have to be submitted to the translator, at least three or four times, foreign compositors working mechanically. Many months would thus pass in wearisome proof-reading, and when at last the hundred copies are struck off, and each man receives his due, what margin of profit awaits the silly bookseller-publisher? He is insulted in every way and laughed at if he dares to wonder that the British Customs seize any copies...’

    Carrington published some 300 titles (some using his own name and others using false imprints, as here) mainly in Paris where he lived from about 1894 until 1907, selling books from a shop in the Faubourg Montmartre. He notably printed a number of works by Oscar Wilde when few other publishers would risk implication in Wilde’s downfall and, besides outright pornography, he printed a number of editions of classical and oriental authors and important works on the psychology of sex. In 1907 he was deported from France for consistently publishing and selling literature “of a very obscene and vulgar character”. He continued his publishing business in Brussels before returning to Paris in 1912. By 1920 Carrington was blind from the effects of advanced syphilis, being admitted to the mental hospital at Ivry, south of Paris, where he died in 1921.

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  • Nouvelles Causes de stérilité dans les deux sexes, Fécondation artificielle comme moyen ultime de traitement... illustré de 200 gravures par José Roy. by GÉRARD, [Joseph]. GÉRARD, [Joseph]. ~ Nouvelles Causes de stérilité dans les deux sexes, Fécondation artificielle comme moyen ultime de traitement... illustré de 200 gravures par José Roy. Paris: [Hérissey for] C. Marpon & E. Flammarion, 1888.
    First edition of this comprehensive study of human fertility, infertility and artificial insemination. ‘Notre livre est surtout destiné aux familles qui sont désolées de rester… (more)

    First edition of this comprehensive study of human fertility, infertility and artificial insemination. ‘Notre livre est surtout destiné aux familles qui sont désolées de rester sans enfants.’ A practical and populist approach to the scientific facts with an extraordinary sequence of vignettes by José Roy.

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  • Traité des Eunuques, dans lequel on explique toutes les différentes sortes d’eunuques... On éxamine principalement s’ils sont propres au mariage, & s’il leur doit être permis de se marier... by [ANCILLON, Charles]. [ANCILLON, Charles]. ~ Traité des Eunuques, dans lequel on explique toutes les différentes sortes d’eunuques... On éxamine principalement s’ils sont propres au mariage, & s’il leur doit être permis de se marier... ?Berlin, [ 1707].
    First edition of this extraordinary treatise on the status of eunuchs in society, according to civil and canon law. Largely based on classical sources, history… (more)

    First edition of this extraordinary treatise on the status of eunuchs in society, according to civil and canon law. Largely based on classical sources, history and (most interestingly) anecdotal evidence from the Orient, Ancillon considers the reasons for the phenomenon (including slavery, household, employment or punishment for sexual misdemeanour). The major contention is that while civil law permits a eunuch to marry, canon law should forbid it (as it did) on the grounds that a marriage could not be consummated. Along the way Ancillon recounts numerous anecdotes of famous eunuchs, notably Abelard, castrated at the instigation of Heloise’s family.

    The book was later translated into English by Robert Samber as part of Edmund Curll’s Eunuchism display’d (1718).

    This copy of Traité des Eunuques is one of at least two issues of the same year with slightly different paginations and title ornaments. The ‘Epitre dedicatoire’ is signed: ‘C. d’Ollincan’ an anagram of the author’s real name. Gay III, 1239.

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  • The Old Serpent’s Reply to the Electrical Eel... by [PERRY, reply to.] [PERRY, reply to.] ~ The Old Serpent’s Reply to the Electrical Eel... London: Printed for M. Smith, and sold by the Booksellers... L,DCC,LXXVII [i.e. 1777].
    Sole edition. In the Monthly Review’s opinion: ‘A fruitless attempt to catch the Eel of Wit by the tail.’ With allusions to Wilkes, Garrick, and… (more)

    Sole edition. In the Monthly Review’s opinion: ‘A fruitless attempt to catch the Eel of Wit by the tail.’ With allusions to Wilkes, Garrick, and Catherine the Great, among others. Jackson, p. 56.

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  • ‘POETICAL SMUT. ROCHESTER REVIVED.’
    The Electrical Eel: or, Gymnotus electricus. Inscribed to the Honourable Members of the R***l S*****y, by Adam Strong [pseud.], Naturalist. A new Edition, with considerable Additions... by [PERRY, James]. [PERRY, James]. ~ The Electrical Eel: or, Gymnotus electricus. Inscribed to the Honourable Members of the R***l S*****y, by Adam Strong [pseud.], Naturalist. A new Edition, with considerable Additions... London: Printed for J. Bew... 1777.
    ‘A satirical poem on the amours of various members of the nobility’ (ESTC) or, as the Monthly Review succinctly put it: ‘Poetical smut. Rochester revived.’… (more)

    ‘A satirical poem on the amours of various members of the nobility’ (ESTC) or, as the Monthly Review succinctly put it: ‘Poetical smut. Rochester revived.’ A number of imitations and replies were elicited. It is an early work by Perry (formerly ‘Pirie’, 1756–1821), a Scottish journalist recently arrived in London ‘to try to break into the literary world’ (Oxford DNB). By the end of his career he had become ‘one of the most notable journalists of the age when the newspaper press was becoming established as a force in the country’ (ibid.)

    Studies of Gymnotus electricus by members of the Royal Society and their correspondents had captured the imagination of the British public in unexpected ways. While the investigations of Walsh and Hunter made genuine discoveries into the nature of electricity (which culminated in the invention of Volta’s battery), contemporary wits and pamphleteers took advantage of the phallic connotations of the eel and its electrical properties to deride the sexual peregrinations of London society.

    ESTC lists 4 editions of 1777. This ‘new edition’ is enlarged form the first, but probably preceded the stated ‘third’ edition, with a much enlarged pagination. Jackson, p. 52 (first edition, with a different pagination).

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  • Le Pornographe, ou Idées d’un honnête-homme sur un projet de réglement pour les prostituées, propre à prévenir les Malheurs qu’occasionne le Publicisme des Femmes: avec des notes historiques et justificatives. by RESTIF DE LA BRETONNE, Nicolas-Edme. RESTIF DE LA BRETONNE, Nicolas-Edme. ~ Le Pornographe, ou Idées d’un honnête-homme sur un projet de réglement pour les prostituées, propre à prévenir les Malheurs qu’occasionne le Publicisme des Femmes: avec des notes historiques et justificatives. ‘Londres, chez Jean Nourse... A La Haye, chez Gosse junior, & Pinet’ [but Paris: Delalain,] 1769.
    First edition, second issue (Londres and La Haye imprint). Intended as the first of a projected series of works with the general title Idées singulières,… (more)

    First edition, second issue (Londres and La Haye imprint). 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 preoccupation 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.

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  • Paneros. Some words on aphrodisiacs and the like. by DOUGLAS, Norman. DOUGLAS, Norman. ~ Paneros. Some words on aphrodisiacs and the like. Florence: [Tipografia Giuntina] ‘privately printed for subscribers by G. Orioli, Lungarno Corsini’, [ 1930].
    First edition, privately printed. The limitation notice reads ‘This Edition is issued to Subscribers only and limited to two hundred and fifty copies, numbered and… (more)

    First edition, privately printed. 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).

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