This one previously unlisted, because it is shaped like a small house brick and very difficult to scan, plus I don’t like the images. But it is a clandestine title and it is going to auction, so I best list it while I still have it,I have never seen another copy. I strongly suspect that the illustrations are copied from a much earlier edition. Ancient pornography with a very strong anti-clerical theme.
Anon(Attributed to Stanilas de Rhodes) The Autobiography of a Flea.Printed for the Erotica Biblion Society of London and New York 1901 (1926) In original green boards (which are marked and worn, in quarter leather, spine (worn at edges head and base of spine) title in gilt. 274 pages with 14 crudely executed full page illustrations, on glossy paper. Conforms to Note at end of Mendes( 1E). Very compact book, covers are about good with contents very good (stitching visible between pages 96-97) Still a rare edition complete with the illustrations and head and tailpieces.
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Another clandestine Losfeld this one a reproduction of (part) of an earlier clandestine title by Brancart.
This title is available for trade against my Paris Olympia Press wants
NOTE: The head and tail pieces and decorations between the illustrations are not from this book everything else is.
In Original Black card covers with title in red on cover and spine. 8vo. pp. 159. Eight coloured illustrations. [Dutel, 1329.] All illustrations and text present and correct.
A reprint of vol. II of Liqueurs et Parfums des Importantes Fabriques de Lesbos, Cythère et Gomorrhe… published at Amsterdam by A. Brancart in 1894.Curiosités (Les). – S.l.n.d. [P., Eric Losfeld, fin des années ’50], in-12, en f., couv. noire impr. en bistre, étui. Edition clandestine ornée de 8 illustrations en coul., très libres. Il s’agit d’une réédition du tome 2 de Liqueurs et Parfums paru pour la 1e fois en 1894.
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Another clandestine gem, which rather amusingly destroys it’s own claim to being the first translation into English in a book dated 1907, with a translators note dated 1896, which would approximate with the date of the Carrington edition, this copy is likely by Hirsch c:1930, one of two versions of around that date this possibly printed by Maurice Duflou, given its small size and variant emblem on the title page.
This Book is available for trade against any of my Olympia Press wants or other rare or curious items of erotica that might enhance my listings
The Life and Adventures of Father Silas
Description: In original salmon pink paper wraps over plain card covers, with printed title on cover, with The Life and Adventures of Father Silas (1742) I LONDON 1907 I printed across the spine. Back cover plain.
CONTENTS: Half Title, verso blank, Title Page, verso blank, two page Translators Note, Text pages 7-125, blank end paper.
Translators Note 2
Lacks the Paul Avril plates called for but still very rare in its original covers, printed on good quality paper and in very nice condition.
The publishing history is long and complicated and described in detail by Patrick Kearney on his Scissors and Paste website, with editions in a variety of languages, he identifies a possible English translation from a copy recorded but now lost as early as 1743.
At the risk of setting myself up as an expert, which I most certainly am not, I want to put some context around what to me has been and still is an absolutely fascinating area in the history of publishing. I make the distinction between clandestine publications which most heavy end erotica was for centuries, as it was the pornography of its time, and has only become erotica with the passage of time, offering a thinly veiled respectability to those interested in its content. The risk associated with the publication of such material was enormous in from the 18th century through to the late 20th century and arguably not entirely risk free today,
Jean Marie Goulemot
Forbidden Texts Polity Press 1994
Defiant literature as I have called it, is a later phenomena where publishers such as Girodias at The Olympia Press, and to a lesser degree his Father Jack Kahane, founder of the Obelisk Press, and their French counterpart Eric Losfeld a contemporary and friend of Girodias, published material with their name attached and the address of their business and said “here I am come and get me”, and come they did. Although Losfeld published a large number of clandestine titles, and I suspect, but cannot prove that Kahane put out a small number, to the best of my knowledge Girodias published all of his titles openly but not without subterfuge.
A Publishers Paradise Massachusetts 2014
Early clandestine publishing has a complex and by design, difficult to follow history, although if you attempt to read any of this material, as with modern pornography, once the peak of erotic interest has been reached it becomes unreadable, however many early clandestine books had another purpose, many were anti religious tracts or slanders against the state or crown, where even if not actually naming an individual, to those who could read in those times (not that many) the central characters carrying out the acts of debauchery were clearly identifiable. Understandably the target of such ridicule, who were powerful individuals were intent on exacting revenge, should the opportunity allow, and punishments for those caught were extreme, I can’t imagine being imprisoned has ever been much fun, but the thought of an 18th century prison, defies comprehension for the modern mind
Punishment for publishers of such books in the 18th and 19th centuries,if they ever got out of prison, could range from having all of their books seized and destroyed, to having the right to print anything removed, as in many countries the activity had been licensed, in recognition of the pen being mightier than the sword. Banishment was not an uncommon punishment, this might just be from a City and its environs, an area of a country, and if you were not a citizen the country itself. A frightening prospect for most, and in many cases the end of their career and livelihood, others however shrugged their shoulders and moved on and became publishing nomads shifting around Europe in search of more liberal attitudes to their activities, but never really safe from the long reach of their historical subjects of ridicule.
A History of Erotic Literature Macmillan 1982
As a result of the risks, many devious strategies developed to avoid detection, this ranges from having your books printed in another country, a common practice, to concealing the identity of the publisher behind a mesh of misinformation on the title page of the books, with comically constructed fake details of location , name and date, a practice that continued up until the 1960’s, for many of these books there is still no certainty who produced them or even where they were produced.
The Garden of Eros Alma 2013
As for the Defiant publications, these were much more clearly a battle against state interference in controlling what could or could not be read by you or I, Kahane, Girodias and Losfeld all believed in their right to publish, and your right to decide whether or not to read, they saw state censorship as an invasion of the rights of the individual and produced amongst the smut and the porn, or whatever you prefer to call it, some of the finest avant-garde literature produced in the last century, as well as historical works never before available in English, I defy anyone to name any other publisher with a list as impressive as Girodias.
A Pound of Paper Doubleday 2002
Within this post and fairly randomly are examples of books you really should read if you are genuinely interested in this area of publishing, there are many many more titles but you can find your own way, and within each of these are references to other books which you can pursue at your leisure, the selection above provides a nice mix of old and new.
Anyone requiring any more suggestions or wishing to make any please leave a comment or complete a contact form.
Another clandestine gem with all the usual trickery and misinformation, even more complicated if you pursue its possible origin under a variety of French editions, This copy despite its fake publication date of 1902 (1935) is still a rare and interesting item, with illustrated endpapers and five full page illustrations by Le Roy. Making this one of those rare items of English Erotica with illustrations.
This book is available for trade against my Paris Olympia Press Wants or other rare books or items of erotic ephemera that would enhance my listings
Nunnery Tales, by T.N.R with illustrations by Le Roy. The Royal Press, London-Paris 1902 (1935)
Description: Bound in grey boards with title author and publishers details in gilt on the spine.
Illustrated end Papers.
CONTENTS: Illustrated End Papers-Blank ffep, Title Page (verso blank) Half title (verso blank) Limitation Page(Verso blank) 399 pages of text,blank end page,Illustrated End Papers (repeat of front). Illustrated with 5 full page erotic prints by Le Roy, and decorated throughout with cul-de-lamps.
The Erotica Bibliophile offers the following bibliographical information as part of a list of titles produced by William Dugdale.
NUNNERY TALES: Or Cruising under False Colours: A Tale of Love and Lust. London: Printed for the Booksellers,
Original edition. Later published c.1888, probably in Amsterdam by Brancart/Van Crombrugge. Another edition was published in 1899 Paris for the Erotica Biblion Society. A U.S. clandestine reprint was issued ‘By T.N.R. Lond-Paris, Royal Press, 1902’ [New York, c.1935] on laid paper. Not in the British Library.