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An Introduction

  • Ian Hunter
  • David Saunders
  • Dugald Williamson
Chapter
Part of the Language, Discourse, Society book series (LDS)

Abstract

We can set the scene with two citations. The first is well known, being taken from Samuel Pepys, a government official of some standing and a posthu­mously famous diarist. Writing early in 1668, Pepys describes his encounter with what we now call pornographic literature:

Thence homeward by coach and stopped at Martins my bookseller, where I saw the French book which I did think to have had for my wife to translate, called L’ escholle de Filles; but when I came to look into it, it is the most bawdy, lewd book that ever I saw, rather worse than putana errante — so that I was ashamed of reading in it …

Thence away to the Strand to my bookseller’s, and there stayed an hour and bought that idle, roguish book, L’ escholle des Filles; which I have bought in plain binding (avoiding the buying of it better bound) because I resolve, as soon as I have read it, to burn it, that it may not stand in the list of books, nor among them to disgrace them if it should be found …

Lords day. Up, and at my chamber all the morning and the office, doing business and also reading a little of L’ escholle des Filles, which is a mighty lewd book, but yet not amiss for a sober man once to read over to inform himself in the villainy of the world … We sang till almost night, and drank my good store of wine; and then they parted and Ito my chamber, where I did read through L’ escholle des Filles; a lewd book, but what doth me no wrong to read for information sake (but it did hazer my prick para stand all the while, and una vez to decharger); and after I had done it, I burned it, that it might not be among my books to my shame; and so at night to supper and then to bed. (Pepys, 1976, IX, pp. 21–2, 57–9)

Keywords

Literary Critic Sexual Expression Book Trade Legal Interest Ethical Capacity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Ian Hunter, David Saunders, Dugald Williamson 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Hunter
    • 1
  • David Saunders
    • 1
  • Dugald Williamson
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of HumanitiesGriffith UniversityAustralia

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