Erotomaniac: The Secret Life of Henry Spencer Ashbee

Overview

Henry Spencer Ashbee (1834–1900) was a prosperous and respectable Victorian gentleman, a family man who counted among his many friends the celebrated adventurer Sir Richard Francis Burton. But he was a gentleman with a secret—one so delicious that he rented a separate apartment to contain it. Within the well-appointed chambers of Gray's Inn, Ashbee concealed an astonishingly vast collection of erotica and pornography, thousands of volumes strong. Ian Gibson, the acclaimed biographer of Lorca and Dalí, now turns ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (31) from $1.99   
  • New (4) from $6.30   
  • Used (27) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$6.30
Seller since 2007

Feedback rating:

(5849)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
New

Ships from: Miamisburg, OH

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$7.50
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(145)

Condition: New
2001 Hardcover New in New dust jacket 8vo 285 pp; ALWAYS WITH DELIVERY CONFIRMATION. 34 YEARS OF FAST/RELIABLE SERVICE. MEMBER ABAA.

Ships from: Lexington, KY

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$12.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(0)

Condition: New
New York, NY 2001 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 320 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. This item is in stock and will ... ship within 2 days. BUYER SATISFACTION GUARANTEED. Read more Show Less

Ships from: YERMO, CA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$50.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(148)

Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

Henry Spencer Ashbee (1834–1900) was a prosperous and respectable Victorian gentleman, a family man who counted among his many friends the celebrated adventurer Sir Richard Francis Burton. But he was a gentleman with a secret—one so delicious that he rented a separate apartment to contain it. Within the well-appointed chambers of Gray's Inn, Ashbee concealed an astonishingly vast collection of erotica and pornography, thousands of volumes strong. Ian Gibson, the acclaimed biographer of Lorca and Dalí, now turns his attention to the hitherto little-known Ashbee, a man who happily supported his wife and four children but spent his spare time meticulously cataloguing such risqué titles as Miss Bellasis Birched for Thieving and The Marchioness's Amorous Pastimes. And with exclusive access to Ashbee's diaries and his family's archives, Gibson has uncovered evidence that Ashbee may himself have been the author of the notorious My Secret Life—the "true" autobiography of an unnamed Victorian gentleman and his sexual adventures. With his celebrated touch for evoking both his subject and his subject's era, Gibson has created a telling and provocative portrait of a fascinating character and the no less intriguing age that made him possible.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

New Yorker
In The Erotomaniac (Da Capo), Ian Gibson investigates the life of Henry Spencer Ashbee, a respectable Victorian merchant who collected thousands of volumes of pornography spanning several centuries and languages. Gibson believes that Ashbee was also the author of My Secret Life, a notorious piece of Victorian pornography, reasoning, rather unflatteringly, that "it is a tale by someone who has not found erotic fulfillment, by someone for whom sex exists almost entirely in the head."

Of course, if we're to believe Freud, the impulse to collect is largely sexual anyway. Alfred Kinsey, before he embarked on his sex research, was a zoologist, and he collected millions of gall wasps in an attempt to log every variation in the species. Later, he switched to erotica; the editors of Sex and Humor: Selections from the Kinsey Institute (Indiana) gather some of the more lighthearted items from the collection -- kooky pinups, dirty postcards, and comics -- to illuminate their thesis that social taboos have forced people to "use humor to speak about sex."

There is no shortage of humor in the erotic art of Tomi Ungerer, whose wild imaginings include "Fornicon," a set of contraptions that look like a pornographic remake of "Metropolis." In Erotoscope (Taschen), a selection from four decades of drawings, Ungerer claims that he comes from a repressive Protestant background. This doesn't seem to have limited the amount of lewdness he can pack into a few swooping lines. Curiously, his artistic tastes seem to have dictated his sexual ones, rather than the other way around. His S & M kink reflects his love of shapes: tie a woman up, he explains, and "she becomes more fluid, and the pencil that draws her flows more easily across the paper." (Leo Carey)

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306810640
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 11/14/2001
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.36 (w) x 8.31 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian Gibson lives in a village near Granada, Spain. His Federico García Lorca: A Life won numerous awards and was named a best book of the year by the New York Times and the Boston Globe.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)