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Erotic engravings from a poem celebrating sex, 1825 (NSFW)
03.09.2017
10:12 am
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Erotic engravings from a poem celebrating sex, 1825 (NSFW)

1invocamour.jpg
“Fainting.”
 
Volumes of vintage erotica are wasted on academics. Just think how many beautiful books filled with lusty, erotic engravings are moldering away under lock and key in some dark, dusty archive. They’re not for our eyes of course but rather for those of a disinterested professor or an ambitious Ph.D. student looking to reinterpret ancient sex manuals from a post-feminist, non-binary, neo-hermetic viewpoint.

Knowledge is power. Having access to knowledge makes us powerful. In the same way, memory can help define who we are, ye olde books can help us understand who we were. That’s probably why I sometimes begrudge all those wonderful books being kept from our grubby little paws—though in truth admit we must have our gatekeepers.

However, thankfully, there are those good people at the Wellcome Library who understand knowledge of the past helps us navigate the present. The Wellcome Library is one of my favorite websites. It is crammed with the most delightful and mind-expanding books, documents and artworks—which these good people have scanned and put online for our edification.

One day browsing through diseases and alike, I chanced upon a fine volume entitled Invocation à l’amour. Chant philosophique published in France in 1825. This is a “rare” and beautiful book containing a long poem celebrating sex and all the various sexual positions. The poem is a literal invocation calling on God the “Father of the human race and of pleasure, Love, come fill me with your divinity. So that from your transports I may render the ecstasies…”

It then goes on to “invoke the nine sisters of Apollo” to ensure everything “follows the supreme law” of well… I guess you’d call it S.E.X. Jane Austen was never like this. But it’s fascinating to find such an early paean to sex and sexuality—which also gives the lie to that hoary old chestnut sex was invented in the swinging sixties by the baby boomers….

It’s a strange and fiery poem which could do with a more nuanced translation than the one offered by Google. But if so inclined, you can read the original text by “A virtuoso of the good fashion” here.

Aside from the sex magick poetry, this slim red-leathered volume has some stunning illustrations. We don’t know who the artist was of these highly explicit engravings but we can at least admire their artistry, imagination and humor.
 
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“The happy calculation.”
 
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“The charms of masturbation.”
 
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“The lovely bidet.”
 
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“The voluptuous expectations.”
 
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“Oral sex.”
 
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“The waltz of love.”
 
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“Ecstasy.”
 
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“The happy position.”
 
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“The two studs.”
 
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“The country boudoir.”
 
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“Star of Life.”
 
Via Wellcome Library.
 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Dirty Books of the Rich and Famous: The classic erotica of Édouard-Henri Avril (NSFW)
Blasphemy, Sex, Satanism and Sadism: The diabolic erotic art of Félicien Rops (NSFW)
Erotic French postcards from the early 1900s (NSFW)
Kinky erotic portraits of Yukio Mishima
Lusty erotic playing cards from 1955
Polaroids of Desire: Architect Carlo Mollino’s secret stash of erotica (NSFW)
The erotic art of the enema
The kitschy erotic art of Suzanne Ballivet (NSFW)
Underground erotica: Konstantin Somov’s secret stash of gorgeous gay art

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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03.09.2017
10:12 am
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