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THE SHE DEVILS by Pierre Louys


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Edited: Jan 5, 2009, 1:25am Top

This classic of French eroticism has recently been republished in English.The original French title was TROIS FILLES DE LEUR MERE. Susan Sontag has described the work as "one of the few works of the erotic imagination to deserve true literary status. It remains Pierre Louys' most intense, claustrophobic work; a study of sexual obsession and monomania unsurpassed in its depictions of carnal excess, unbridled lust and limitless perversity". It is the story of a passionate young man who encounters a mature 'Self-Employed Woman' and her daughters, who are being trained for the same vocation. The ISBN number is 1-84068-013-X. Pierre Louys also wrote the classic novel of adolescent lesbianism THE SONGS OF BILITIS. APHRODITE, and LE ROI GONZALVE are also considered to be classics of perverse erotica.

Edited: Jun 13, 2012, 11:23am Top

Do you mean Le Roi Pausole? I know I have come upon this topic a little late, but I do want to encourage readership for Pierre Louys. His novels of pagan lust are fun and not overly complex. Rather than any new translations that might be around I would suggest hunting down the old copies put out in the 1920s and 30s by various private presses as these contain the naughty and "decadent" illustrations of Beresford Egan. Manuel de civilité pour les petites filles à l'usage des maisons d'éducation (The Young Girl's Handbook of Good Manners for Use in Educational Establishments) is particularly charming and obscene. I am not sure if it was written as a satire or merely for shock purposes. Any edition should do, as the preferred illustrated French edition is no doubt rare and out of most price ranges (certainly mine).

Although not Louys (but "Simon Arrow" - possibly Ronald Firbank), Count Fanny's Nuptials: Being The Story of a Courtship is a curiosity to obtain - a tale of successful seduction, depraved illustrations attributed to Alastair.

Jun 13, 2012, 2:59pm Top

Well, my goodness, thank you for that recommendation! I'm sitting here in the used bookstore (that I may own someday), and realized that we have a 1933 Modern Library edition of Aphrodite!

Jun 13, 2012, 3:21pm Top

The copy you have there is probably the edition illustrated by Frank Butera. It's not bad, but not as uncommon (or venomously sensual) as the 1928 Fortune Press edition, which has the Egan illustrations.

Jun 13, 2012, 3:30pm Top

An illustrated Modern Library, interesting. Can't think if I ever saw one, except maybe Hasek's Svejk?

My copy is a knockoff of the original edition (I think), illustrated by Lobel-Riche.

He could draw:

Edited: Jun 13, 2012, 3:39pm Top

While poking around here and there I found this: http://www.amazon.com/Fantazius-Mallare-Count-Fannys-Nuptials/dp/1902588940/ref=... - a two-for-one edition of Ben Hecht's decadent novel and Arrow's Count Fanny's Nuptials. I had no idea the latter had ever been republished. Wet Angel Books. Oh my.

Edited: Jun 13, 2012, 3:44pm Top

3, 5: Missed that (Modern Library) - yes, I'd be curious to know who the illustrator was and to see examples (Frank Buttera, by the way. And no relation, I hazard, to the wild Sam Butera). Magnificat indeed!

Edited: Jun 13, 2012, 3:39pm Top

>5 LolaWalser: Oooo . . very, very nice!

>6 benwaugh: To be published by Wet Angel, who turn out to be an imprint of Creation Books

Jun 13, 2012, 3:48pm Top

Unfortunately, it's not illustrated. As to the translation (by one Lewis Galantiere), I'll let you know.
Nice illustration, LolaWalser. Thanks for that!

Edited: Jun 13, 2012, 3:52pm Top

Ben, you should look at this!

Salome in illustration by various artists

I got to it googling Lobel-Riche's images (I recommend doing that too, by the way).

P.S. Link above and most of Lobel-Riche Not Safe For Church Or Work.


You're welcome.

Edited: Jun 13, 2012, 3:52pm Top

9: That is too bad, as the illustrations are more interesting than the material.

Edited: Jun 13, 2012, 3:57pm Top

10: Heck! I thought it might be a book for sale! Great illustrations - thank you! And by the way, some of the best in the Some Limericks reflects upon the Holy Family - so just the thing for Church!

Jun 13, 2012, 3:55pm Top

Oh my gosh! Somebody scanned my first erotic comic and put the whole darn thing online!
I wish they would've asked me first.

Sorry, this is not an attempt at shameless self-promotion. I just googled myself and Utopia Unlimited and got this site.

NOT safe for work or church.

Jun 13, 2012, 4:36pm Top

> 13

Probably safe for my church. But I'm at work, so I can't confirm.

Jun 21, 2012, 10:09pm Top

> 2

Not too long ago I bought a copy of Louÿs's Manuel de Civilité pour les Petites Fille, à l'usage des maisons d'éducation. And not, as they used to say about Playboy, entirely for the text - sadly, my French sucks. (Plus English translations can be found on-line.) It dates from 1948 and has a dozen lovely, hand-tinted plates. As it turns out, what it does not have is binding - rather cardboard stiffened paper wrappers enclose loose uncut signatures (& the plates). It seems that such editions were common even at such a relatively late date. Presumably you simply lugged the thing to a nearby bookbinder for a custom job - and, given the content, perhaps not one who specialized in theological tomes. Oh, and yes, it was out of my price range ... never mind the eventual need for binding.

A good list of various editions of Louÿs can be found here: http://www.scissors-and-paste.net/Louys.html

Jun 22, 2012, 1:01am Top

Just looking at the 'Erudite Dirt' thread - I'd forgotten all about the Cypher Press (motto: Beautiful, pointless books...). I stumbled on the website some years ago - it remains unchanged & cheerfully posts free pdf versions of four remarkable books, including another illustrated edition of Manuel de Civilité, the limerick volume mentioned on that other thread, and a treatise called The Search for the Source of the Nile (newly published correspondence between Burton & Speke). As well there are two more books laid out as html on Beardsley and Enoch Soames.


The books themselves don't show up on abe.com ... presumably they grace the shelves of a Gentleman's Club somewhere.

Jun 22, 2012, 5:14pm Top

Thank you for those links! I'm a few chapters into Aphrodite, and I'm really seeing the influence he had on authors like Thomas Burnett Swann, among others.
The prose is very rich, and best taken in small doses. Very nice.

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