Friday, 1 April 2011


ISBN-10: N/A
Writer: H. Montgomery Hyde
Title: A History of Pornography
Introduction: Morris L. Ernst
Edition: American Edition First Printing
Language: English
Place of Publication: New York, N.Y.
Publisher: Farrarar, Straus and Giroux
Year of Publication: 1965
Format: 142x209mm
Pages: ix+246; Appendix, 208; Bibliography, 234; Index, 237
Illustrations: None
Binding: Red cloth in duotone dust jacket
Weight: 480gr.
Original Price: USD 4.50
Entry No.: 2011007
Entry Date: 1st April 2011


Pornography (from the Greek pornographos, literally the “writing of harlots”) has probably been the companion of man for as long as the Oldest Profession. It is usually defined as a work that is “obscene” and excites sexual passions or desires, but as D. H. Lawrence wrote, “what is pornography to one man is the laughter of genius to another.”

Mr. Hyde traces the history of pornography from ancient times to the present with emphasis on the increased dissemination of licentious literature after the invention of the printing press. As a lawyer and a man of letters, he writes cogently and clearly about the famous censorship cases of recent years:  Ulysses, The Well of Loneliness,, Tropic of Cancer, Memoirs of Hecate County, Fanny Hill, and many others. Censorship, Mr. Hyde observes, is self-defeating and encourages underground pornography; the reign of Queen Victoria saw an extraordinary proliferation of erotica, and Moncton Milnes (Lord Houghton) was forced to use the Queen’s diplomatic pouch for smuggling in highly prized items from Constantinople. Lord Houghton is one of several well-known men, including Coventry Patmore, Alfred Kinsey, and the elder J. P. Morgan, who for various reasons acquired important libraries of erotica. Mr. Hyde also includes extensive information on the publishers of pornography, including The Olympia Press of Paris, which offers both “hardcore” pornography (Who Pushed Paula?) and literature (Lolita, The Ginger Man).

Morris L. Ernst, in his introduction, stresses the changing attitudes of the courts towards controversial books and illustrations. H. Montgomery Hyde, the distinguished barrister and criminologist, is the author of Room 3603 and Oscar Wilde: The Aftermath. A History of Pornography  is an erudite, sophisticated, and frequently amusing study of the “dark side” of the arts. Appendix, bibliography, index.

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