a review of
My Secret Life by a Victorian Gentleman. New York: Grove Press, $1.75
My Secret Life ranks alongside other erotic novels such as The Story of O, Last Exit to Brooklyn, My Life and Loves, Candy, or Fanny Hill.
The first public edition lifted its head above the blanket of U.S. censorship in 1966 even though it was written about 1820 by an unknown author. The first edition contained 2,400 pages of large magazine page size which probably makes it the longest erotic autobiography ever written. This edition is abridged but unexpurgated and considering the size of the original edition, an unexpurgated edition is welcome. If a person wishes to include masochism in his erotic readings, he can attempt to read the entire edition.
The book is an erotic autobiography and as such memoirs go, it has no equal for the variety of sexual experiences described, for the frankness of language employed and for its utter disregard for the woman’s feelings. The author begins with his earliest sexual experiences and the reader is able to trace the sexual mellowing of a man as he grows older.
Not only is the book an erotic novel, but it probably has more naturalistic sexual scenes than any other book on the market; and there is still a validity to the tale. None of the exploits are especially impossible to believe, except very little human
The author occasionally gives remarks on morals, much the same as Sade.
The reader is able to trace the change of attitude of the author in regards to sexual taboos as they are lessened by sexual curiosity and experience.
As he said, “I have conquered antipathies and reaped the reward, in seeing before me a great variety of frolics, suitable to my maturity. It is amusing now to notice the gradual change from simply belly to belly exercise which contented me, to the infinitely varied amusements (such as sucking and playing around) since indulged in. Nothing can be justly called unnatural which nature prompts us to do. If others don’t like them, they are not natural to them, and no one should force them to act them.”
The Victorian author has a fetish about cunts. After each fucking he always demands to examine the cunt and gives the reader a detailed description of that particular Delphic oracle. When the author is on one of his philosophical moods, he is even able to give a small critique on what determines the beauty of a cunt. (i.e., the color of the lips and how far they protrude.)
The author also gives detailed directions on how to seduce a woman according to her age and temperament and as far as I have been able to determine, his recipe is pretty good.