The Romance of Lust: A Classic Victorian erotic novel

By:  Anonymous ,
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Copyright: This work is in the public domain in the USA only.

A brief description of The Romance of Lust as described by Pisanus Fraxi in his book Catena Librorum Tacendorum: "Altogether The Romance of Lust, though no masterpiece of composition, is far better written than most English works of its class. It contains scenes not surpassed by the most libidinous chapters of Justine. The episodes, however, are frequently most improbable, sometimes impossible, and are as a rule too filthy and crapulous. No attempt is made to moderate the language, but the grossest words are invariably employed. The last 26 pages of the 4th volume are occupied by Letters produced in the Divorce Case, Cavendish v. Cavendish and Rochefoucault. They are 12 in number, and were written by the young Count De La Rochefoucault, in 1859, while attaché to the French Embassy at Rome. No pen can adequately depict their nasty licentiousness; and it would appear from allusions they contain that those from the lady to whom they were addressed were still worse. The author of The Romance gives the following account of them: "When the husband's counsel handed up the letters with the sworn . notary's translation he remarked that he thought they were too horribly scandalous to be read in Court. The judge scanned a few of them, and addressing the Count, (sic) said, "I am perfectly of your opinion, my learned brother, I shall take them home and make a point of them in my address to the Jury." * * * * * "Some of the letters are a string of imaginary events as to how far they could carry their imaginations. The Count constantly alludes to the inferiority of his descriptions to those given in her replies. Alas! as he possesses those exciting replies of the lady they cannot be got at, but from his descriptions and the remarks on certain gross familiarities, it is evident she was gifted with as lascivious and lustful a temperament as either my aunt or the divine Frankland (two characters in The Romance of Lust.) * * * * * Surely fact is stranger than fiction! But let us return to the novel the title of which heads my notice. The Romance of Lust is not the product of a single pen, but consists of several tales, "orient pearls at random strung," woven into a connected narrative by a gentleman, perfectly well known to the present generation of literary eccentrics and collectors, as having amassed one of the most remarkable collections of erotic pictures and bric-a-brac ever brought together. He was also an ardent traveller, and The Romance of Lust was composed during a voyage he made to Japan.