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A Night in a Moorish Harem by Anonymous
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A Night in a Moorish Harem (1900)

by Anonymous

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502355,821 (3.57)None
The clandestine advertisement for the first edition of this Victorian classic commends Ôour splendid hero, who puts the whole lovely female squad through their drill . . . .' When the handsome & aristocratic British commander of a gunboat is shipwrecked on the coast of Morocco, he is rescued by nine beautiful ladies, the Pasha's concubines. Each of them is of a different nationality, & Lord George Herbert has just twelve hours to enact his wildest fantasies. The ladies are: Spanish, Grecian, Moorish, Italian, Circassian, Portuguese, Persian, Arabian, & French. A Wordsworth Classic Erotica unexpurgated edition.… (more)

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This is a very filthy book. Its typical of old erotica in that the men are endlessly virile and the women baudy and voluptuous even if initially reluctant. Its rather well-written and if you enjoyed Fanny Hill, you will like this too. ( )
  Petra.Xs | Apr 2, 2013 |
The ultra-high quality concept of A Night in a Moorish Harem is easier to explain than its actual narrative to summarize : due to somewhat contrived circumstances, a British Navy officer finds himself marooned on the Moroccan coast, where he finds shelter amid the nine concubines of a local ruler. These estimable ladies, as it turns out, are of different nationalities, to wit Spanish, "Grecian", Moorish, Italian, Circassian, Portuguese, Persian, Arabian and French (the latter being the most pretty and the least carnally satiable, for reasons that will not escape the savvy). Over the course of the night, he undertakes to pleasure all nine, to the complete satisfaction of his cosmopolitan saviours and the utter marvelment of readers, before escaping at dawn.

This, however, is but the framing device of the book; between bouts of fornication, the randy women entertain their visitor with tales of their amourous past, and soon the captain in turn regales them with indiscrete evocations of his past experiences in the Home Islands and abroad, one of them positively Flashmanish. Much like Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales or Boccaccio’s Decameron, the book is mostly made of these stories within a story. The great advantage of such a premise it that it allows an important variety of tone from tale to tale. Indeed we are treated to comedy, tragedy, ribald farces and borderline Barbey d’Aurevilly dark pleasantries, cuckolds and star-crossed lovers.

Ultimately however A Night in a Moorish Harem fails to fully exploit its premise by downplaying the differences between nationalities. To be fair the stories are clearly different in the islamist world and Europe, but within each group, nationalities are pretty much interchangeable. That is a lost opportunity and I would much have preferred the ladies’ adventures to be grounded of their societies’ mores. As it stands the book suggests that human copulatory behaviours are rather similar throughout the known world, which might be true enough, but then again, it is debatable whether realism has its place in that kind of books.

It also lacks that spark of madness to make it a true classic rather than a simply competent work, and an overall average read.

Also I found it on the Wikisource ( )
  Kuiperdolin | Jul 24, 2011 |
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