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The Penguin Book of Erotic Stories by Women…

The Penguin Book of Erotic Stories by Women (1995)

by A. Susan Williams (Editor), Richard Glyn Jones (Editor)

Other authors: Kathy Acker (Contributor), Isabel Allende (Contributor), Layla Balabakki (Contributor), Svetlana Boym (Contributor), Angela Carter (Contributor)26 more, Kate Chopin (Contributor), Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Contributor), Elizabeth Cook (Contributor), Marquise Mannoury d'Ectot (Contributor), Simone de Beauvoir (Contributor), Candas Jane Dorsey (Contributor), Carol Emshwiller (Contributor), Lesley A. Hall (Contributor), Radclyffe Hall (Contributor), Bessie Head (Contributor), Siv Holm (Contributor), Nicole Ward Jouve (Contributor), Evelyn Lau (Contributor), Katherine Mansfield (Contributor), Ann Oakley (Contributor), Iva Pekarkova (Contributor), Claire Rabe (Contributor), Alifa Rifaat (Contributor), Joanna Russ (Contributor), May Sinclair (Contributor), Verena Stefan (Contributor), Gertrude Stein (Contributor), Anna-Elisabeth Weirauch (Contributor), Edith Wharton (Contributor), Amy Yamada (Contributor), Chiung Chiung Yuan (Contributor)

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I approached this book with some pretty high expectations – not all of them prurient. Though by no means an aficionado, I’ve had some familiarity with erotica and even a nodding acquaintance with its more disreputable elder sibling pornography. If anything, I was anticipating a good mixture of styles and approaches. And there is, indeed, some diversity. Hard core is somewhat under-represented; the most “in your face” writing coming from, of all people, Edith Wharton! There are certainly some quirky takes, the most hinky of which has got to be Carol Emshwiller’s “Sex and/or Mr. Morrison”. I guess, on the whole, I most enjoyed the tales with a little lighter touch: “An Old Fashioned Girl” by Joanna Russ, “Where the Bee Sucks” by Ann Oakley, and L.A. Hall’s “Harmonizing Polarities.” Perhaps not surprisingly, the most successful story (at least in terms of entertainment and titillation), is the oldest, and the only one told from the perspective of a man, “Violette”, by La Marquise de Mannoury d’Ectot. Frankly, however, the “erotic” element is a decidedly minor ingredient in far too many of these tales. Regrettably, a good number have a certain sameness about them: lack of profile, incident or personal style. Several are extracts from longer memoirs, and most of these have a certain impressionistic quality that, for me at least, inhibits much of a sense of involvement. Overall, I would identify a theme common to nearly all these tales: a woman (typically, but not always, young) venturing (usually in a somewhat passive way) into unknown territory as she explores the nature of her sexuality. Perhaps that’s the essence of erotic fiction: extending boundaries. But I was anticipating something with a bit more bite and tang, and was, with a few exceptions, disappointed. Not, sadly, unlike some of my own personal experiences. But, then, I'm from Mars. ( )
  jburlinson | Dec 16, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Williams, A. SusanEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, Richard GlynEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Acker, KathyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Allende, IsabelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Balabakki, LaylaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boym, SvetlanaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carter, AngelaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chopin, KateContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Colette, Sidonie-GabrielleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cook, ElizabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
d'Ectot, Marquise MannouryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
de Beauvoir, SimoneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dorsey, Candas JaneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Emshwiller, CarolContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hall, Lesley A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hall, RadclyffeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Head, BessieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holm, SivContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jouve, Nicole WardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lau, EvelynContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mansfield, KatherineContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Oakley, AnnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pekarkova, IvaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rabe, ClaireContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rifaat, AlifaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Russ, JoannaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sinclair, MayContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stefan, VerenaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stein, GertrudeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Weirauch, Anna-ElisabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wharton, EdithContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yamada, AmyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yuan, Chiung ChiungContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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An international collection spanning one hundred years. From Elizabeth Cook's Billets Doux, on a woman's imaginative punishment for a man's infidelity, to Yuan Ch'iung Ch'iung's A Lover's Ear, on the erotic experience of cleaning your loved one's ear.… (more)

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