Erotica may be flying off the shelves of real-world bookstores and flooding the digital shelves of Kindles and Nooks around the globe nowadays, but it hasn’t always been so easy to get your mitts on erotica. In fact, erotic novels have been subject to censorship for centuries – many only being granted printing permission within the last few decades.
Want to mix it up and add a little classic, and previously banned, erotica to your reading list? Check out these four excerpts to get a feel for which book might tickle your fancy.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
First published in 1928 but then banned until the 1960s, Lady Chatterley’s lover is perhaps one of the best-known banned erotic books, having gained infamy for its graphic narratives on adulterous sex and its inclusion of unprintable words. It was the subject of obscenity trials in Britain, Japan, and India, and it was banned in the United States, Canada and Australia.
She lay quite still, in a sort of sleep, in a sort of dream. Then she quivered as she felt his hand groping softly, yet with queer thwarted clumsiness, among her clothing. Yet the hand knew, too, how to unclothe her where it wanted. He drew down the thin silk sheath, slowly, carefully, right down and over her feet. Then with a quiver of exquisite pleasure he touched the warm soft body, and touched her navel for a moment in a kiss. And he had to come in to her at once, to enter the peace on earth of her soft, quiescent body. It was the moment of pure peace for him, the entry into the body of the woman.
Fanny Hill by John Cleland
Penned from a debtor’s prison in 1748, John Cleland was re-arrested within a year for his tale of debauchery and sexual adventure, written from former prostitute Fanny Hill’s point of view.
I saw, with wonder and surprise, what? not the play-thing of a boy, not the weapon of a man, but a maypole of so enormous a standard, that had proportions been observ’d, it must have belong’d to a young giant. Its prodigious size made me shrink again; yet I could not, without pleasure, behold, and even ventur’d to feel, such a length, such a breadth of animated ivory! perfectly well turn’d and fashion’d, the proud stiffness of which distended its skin, whose smooth polish and velvet softness might vie with that of the most delicate of our sex, and whose exquisite whiteness was not a little set off by a sprout of black curling hair round the root, through the jetty sprigs of which the fair skin shew’d as in a fine evening you may have remark’d the clear light ether through the branchwork of distant trees over-topping the summit of a hill: then the broad and blueish-cast incarnate of the head, and blue serpentines of its veins, altogether compos’d the most striking assemblage of figure and colours in nature. In short, it stood an object of terror and delight.
The Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
Miller’s The Tropic of Cancer garnered more than 60 obscenity lawsuits in the USA alone after its American publication in 1961. Chronicling the sexual adventures of a young American writer in Paris during the height of 1930s bohemian culture, the book’s graphic descriptions of sexual adventures with whores, pimps and artists caused quite a fuss at the time.
As she stood up to dry herself, still talking to me pleasantly, suddenly she dropped the towel and, advancing toward me leisurely, she commenced rubbing her pussy affectionately, stroking it with her two hands, caressing it, patting it, patting it. There was something about her eloquence at that moment and the way she thrust that rosebush under my nose which remains unforgettable; she spoke of it as if it were some extraneous object which she had acquired at great cost, an object whose value had increased with time and which now she prized above everything in the world. Her words imbued it with a peculiar fragrance; it was no longer just her private organ, but a treasure, a magic, potent treasure, a God-given thing – and none the less so because she traded it day in and day out for a few pieces of silver. As she flung herself on the bed, with legs spread wide apart, she cupped it with her hands and stroked it some more, murmuring all the while in that hoarse, cracked voice of hers that it was good, beautiful, a treasure, a little treasure. And it was good, that little pussy of hers!
Ulysses by James Joyce
First published in serial form from 1918 – 1920, Joyce’s Ulysses ran into trouble with the printing of its 13th chapter due to its use of profanity and description of masturbation. It was banned for more than a decade in the USA.
Ravished over her I lay, full lips full open, kissed her mouth. Yum. Softly she gave me in my mouth the seedcake warm and chewed. Mawkish pulp her mouth had mumbled sweetsour of her spittle. Joy: I ate it: joy. Young life, her lips that gave me pouting. Soft warm sticky gumjelly lips. Flowers her eyes were, take me, willing eyes. Pebbles fell. She lay still. A goat. No-one. High on Ben Howth rhododendrons a nannygoat walking surefooted, dropping currants. Screened under ferns she laughed warmfolded. Wildly I lay on her, kissed her: eyes, her lips, her stretched neck beating, woman’s breasts full in her blouse of nun’s veiling, fat nipples upright. Hot I tongued her. She kissed me. I was kissed. All yielding she tossed my hair. Kissed, she kissed me.
What’s your favourite previously-banned or old-school erotic novel?