Chapter

The Erotic Book Trade

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Abstract

By the end of the eighteenth century, London was awash with all sorts of printed matter, which could be bought from a wide variety of outlets. Part of this cache of reading material was highly erotic, including licentious novels, adventurous travelogues, rude prints, ribald songs and racy poems, and some pornographic. The most explicit material was subject to prosecution and therefore was purposely kept ‘hidden’. It had to be more carefully sold and was aimed at a specific audience.1

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Apparently this book retained its popularity - my Italian friend recalls her father kept a copy in his library in Rome in the
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Puttana Errante to NiccolO Franco (1515–70); it is often incorrectly ascribed to Aretino
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Forbidden Texts. Erotic Literature and its Readers in Eighteenth-Century France (Cambridge
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attributes the translation to Sir Roger L’Estrange, but cites no evidence Sir Roger was surveyor of the printing presses and licensor of the press; in other words, the man in charge of censorship. He is also attributed as translator of Letters from a Portuguese Nun
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The Progress of a Plough-Boy to a Seat in Parliament As Exemplified in the History of the Life of William Cobbett (reprint: London
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Also see Ellic Howe, A List of London Bookbinders John Pendred, The Earliest Directory of the Book Trade
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Studies in a Subculture Also see his revision in Hacks & Dunces
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The Secret Sex Nexus: Sex and Literature in Eighteenth Century Britain
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Local Distribution Networks in Eighteenth-century England
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The Memory of the Liberty of the Press: the Suppression of Radical Writing in the 1790s
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A Few Shillings for Small Books: the Experience of a Flying Stationer in the Eighteenth Century
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The Culture of Sensibility
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The Darnton Debate. Books and Revolution in the Eighteenth Century
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Facts of Life. The Creation of Sexual Knowledge in Britain
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Censorship and English Literature
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Sir Roger was surveyor of the printing presses and licensor of the press; in other words, the man in charge of censorship. He is also attributed as translator of Letters from a Portuguese Nun
  • James Maidment
John Pendred, The Earliest Directory of the Book Trade
  • H R Plomer
Also see his revision in Hacks & Dunces, Pope
  • Pat Rogers
  • Grub Street