Monday, September 28, 2009

Erotika Biblia at the Colophon Club

Colophons will be swollen and printer slugs tumescent when Bruce Whiteman, Head Librarian at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library of U.C.L.A. in Los Angeles, presents an address to The Colophon Club of San Francisco on October 13, 2009 titled Erotika Biblia or, Collecting Naughty Books at a Distinguished Institutional Library (Not at the Public’s Expense, I Assure You).
Bruce has been kind to share in advance with me the text of his lecture. In it, he discusses William Clark’s personal interest in erotica, erotica esoterica, and the kind of material in this area that Bruce has been acquiring for the Clark, with attention to some of the more interesting collections he’s bought, and unusual titles, amongst which are (and these are near the apex - or nadir, depending upon one’s point of view):

• The fourth known copy of Dirty Dogs for Dirty Puddings, or Memoirs of the Luscious Amours of the Several Persons of Both Sexes of Quality and Distinction, 1732, which includes a dialogue between “Lean-Asse” and “Fat-Asse.”

The Natural History of the Frutex Vulvaria, or Flowering Shrub, 1732. Only three copies in two states of this pamphlet are recorded.

An Essay Upon Improving and Adding to the Strength of Great-Britain and Ireland, By Fornication, Justifying the Same from Scripture and Reason, 1735.

Broken Slavery, or the Society of Free-Farters, 1756, printed at ( in Greek-disguised) “Fartopolis.” (The book is in French).

The Colophon Club of San Francisco was founded in 1979 by Sandra Denola Kirshenbaum, a rare-book dealer before founding Fine Print in 1975, a journal devoted to the book arts. At the time, the Roxburghe Club, established in 1928 for book collectors of a particularly erudite (some would say insufferably snobbish) stripe, was a men-only fraternity. The Colophon Club was formed to give women working in the book arts a place to belong and, in part, to add a more social element to the local book scene. Its members include bibliophiles, book collectors, art printers, bookbinders, book artists, etc. It's a wonderful group of Old School and New School craftspeople and aficionados who meet once a month to talk shop and listen to guest speakers over dinner and drinks.

Bruce Whiteman has published books and essays on bibliography, poetry, publishing history, book collecting, and forgery. His most recent book is a translation of the Pervigilium Veneris (New York: Russell Maret, 2009). Bruce is one of the leading lights in the Southern California rare book world, his influence has spread nationwide, and he's a genuinely nice - and very witty - man. His brain is the size of a watermelon which he somehow fits into a standard- sized cranium; he’s amongst the smartest, most erudite and knowledgeable people I have the pleasure to call a friend. We’ve known each other for ten years, having bonded over rare books in general and the subject of erotic literature in particular. I’ve had the privilege of offering him a few choice volumes of erotica over the years which he was kind enough to acquire for the Clark.

Anyone with an interest in the subject will want to attend. Bruce really knows his stuff and I learned things from the lecture's text that I’d not known before. Bruce can be very annoying in that regard, and I thank him.

The lecture is, presumably, for members only, but you may be shown mercy by contacting Nancy Wickes at or at 510 849-2376 by October 7th.

When: Tuesday, October 13, 2009.
Where: The Berkeley Club, 2315 Durant Avenue, Berkeley, CA
Time: Cocktails 6. Dinner 7. Lecture 8.
Cost: $33.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to BOOKTRYST by Email