Monday, April 20, 2009

The more things change...

Michael Dirda reviews a new book about pornography in New York in the ninetheenth century, called "Licentious Gotham," much of it apparently devoted to legal stuff, alas.

But one thing made me look up... A man about 150 years before his time, the creator of American porno-gothic (!):

(The author) also briefly outlines the career of George Thompson, the most prolific writer of what has been called "American porno-gothic," a subgenre emphasizing graphic violence, dark secrets and sexual excess, including teasing hints of incest, miscegenation, orgies and public sex. Some of Thompson's novels include "The Ladies' Garter" (c. 1851), "The Gay Girls of New York" (1854) and "The Bridal Chamber, and Its Mysteries" (1856). While Thompson freely reveled in every form of splatter-flick violence -- including disfigurement by acid and cannibalism -- he would typically build up tremendous erotic tension, then suddenly announce that the law or morality compelled him to draw a veil or "drop the curtain" over what was to ensue between some snowy-globed damsel and her well set-up admirer.

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