It’s no secret. I cannot resist the lure of a second-hand book. Something about the mystery of who owned it before… How many owners – and how many others – had held it in their hands and read the very same pages? Words woven by a stranger, most likely no longer living. A voice reaching out from the past, still influencing the living.
Even less can I resist a book with titillating content. The title, ‘An Anthology of Erotic Prose’ can hardly be misinterpreted. I decided on the spot it would be mine, and I would savor the contents a little at a time.
My first expedition into new erotic landscapes was with Violette Leduc, a French author and protegée of Simone de Beauvoir.
Born the illegitimate daughter of a servant girl, young Violette spent most of her childhood suffering from an ugly self-image. Life become more interesting at boarding school where she experienced lesbian affairs with a classmate and a music instructor who was fired over the incident. Not surprising, the main subjects of her writing are female love and desire.
These are a few of my favorite lines from one of her autobiographical novels, La Bâtarde (the Bastard)…
Isabelle wanted our skins to merge. I chanted with my body over hers, I bathed my belly in the lilies of her belly. I sank into a cloud. She touched me lightly on the buttocks, she sent strange arrows through my flesh.
I was discovering the velvet of my bones, the glow hidden in my flesh… The hand was trailing a mist of dreams across my skin.
She was kissing what she had caressed, and then, lightly, her hand ruffled and whisked with the feathers of perversity. The octopus in my entrails quivered. Isabelle was drinking at my breast… and I drank with her, sucking the milk of darkness when her lips had gone.
Moving forward, moving back, making me gasp for breath, beginning to enter, arousing the tentacles in my entrails, parting the secret cloud…
Perfection is not of this world… even when we meet it here.
For more about Violette Leduc: