Erotic expression in printed form is an art that has been around since the days of Christ
but surprisingly has never seemed to go away. This post aims to take a cursory survey of some of the more important works of erotic literature that have been published over the last few hundred years, and to examine the current state of erotic writing.
In 1749 John Cleland
wrote a book that would find itself legislatively ruled obscene in the US until 1966. The book was called Fanny Hill
, and it detailed the salacious life of a prostitute. In retrospect it is quite tame by obscenity standards.
In 1785 Marquis de Sade
wrote a book while imprisoned that would be controversial and face bans in many countries to this day. It was a very explicit book about the sexual abuse and torture of a group of children by the hand of a group of depraved libertines. This book was The 120 Days of Sodom
. It has lost none of its charm over the years and is still the single most disturbing book that I have ever personally read. But you don't have to take my
word for it...
1928 saw another controversial erotic novel, written by D H Lawrence
. His book, titled Lady Chatterly's Lover
, explored the notion that a relationship between man and woman must be more than just a mental bond-- it required a physical bond as well (and an excuse to sleep with the farmhand). Like Fanny Hill, it was deemed obscene in the US and legislatively banned until the 1960s.
Surprisingly, despite all the advances in technology that allowed for much more visually stimulating content, erotic literature continued to be written and printed through the 1960s and 1970s
. From the late 1980s to the early 1990s
, thanks to the possibility of computer networking it became viable for amateur authors to create and trade written erotica over machines that squawked very loudly
and made discreet masturbation impossible.
In 2009, erotic literature still gets written
and distributed by both amateur
authors on a daily basis. Some sites cater specifically to the GLBT community
, other sites cater to specific fetishes
Despite claims that the literacy rate in the US is declining
, erotic literature (which appears to be primarily written in English) shows no signs of waning interest.