In fact there exists a significant literary body of evidence to suggest we are little evolved, or devolved, as some might rather put it, from the naughty scribes of varying ages past. Without further ado, then, a tabulation of some very filthy old dudes, and their writing that knocked the petticoats off their contemporary readers:
- Anything written by, painted on or sculpted by the Greeks.
- Originally published around the 3rd century, AD, in India, The Kama Sutra deserves mention, though technically not literature.
- Emerging in the 15th century, The Perfumed Garden of Sensual Delight: Arabic Sex Manual, written by Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Nafzawi, shows us that Muslims have not always been so guarded about sex. How, oh how, can we persist in our insignificant differences when such treasured phrases as the following come from this rich and ancient culture? "Hamdonna threw herself upon Bahloul, took his member between her hands and began to look at it. She was astonished at its size, strength and firmness, and cried: `Here we have the ruin of all women and the cause of many troubles. I never saw a more beautiful dart!'
- Erupting onto the scene in the late 1700's was, The History of My Life, by Giacomo Casanova. Yes, we all know this salacious seducer. No more need be said.
- Around the same time Casanova was probing the literary boundaries of Italy, perhaps the most infamous of my list emerged in France to the utter abhorrence of his peers. "Monstrous, depraved, an odious book by an even more odious man," was one of the kinder criticisms he received. Ah, what a pain in the ass he must have been. You are a pioneer, my dear Marquis de Sade. Incidentally, I believe the terms Sadism, and Sadistic were coined in his honor. Truly a worthy member of this list!
- Emerging in France in 1857, was a novel that shocked the moral pulse of Europe with its candid descriptions of infidelity and desire perpetrated by that naughty little minx, Madame Bovary. Gustave Flaubert, we salute you!
- Originally published in 1928, in Italy, because he could not find an English publisher that would touch it, this treasured tome later went on to receive the great honor of being banned by the Brits and Americans, and condemned as utter filth. I give you D.H. Lawrence's all time classic, Lady Chatterley's Lover. Hoorah! Hoorah!
- Finally, and this one deserves some delicate handling, we have the infamous Vladimir Nabokov classic, Lolita. The title term lolita, as well as nymphet, are words coined by Nabokov, and entered into the english dictionary. Imagine, a Russian writer working in a second language manages to coin two entirely new and lascivious words because he couldn't find any that suited him. Also enjoying some serious time on the banned books list, Lolita is a novel so perfectly crafted, so brilliantly written that it accomplishes the unimaginable task of allowing the reader to sympathize with the grotesque protagonist's undying love for a thirteen year old girl, and the tragic, inevitable consequences that we know must ensue. Humbert Humbert is a monster, but one for whom you feel just the slightest hesitation before tossing him into the fire. Now that's writing.