Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lewd and Scandalous Exhibition At Monash University

"Exposés of London prostitution and vice took readers on a tour 
of London’s clubs and nightspots and invited them to enjoy 
(but condemn!) the ‘fashion and folly’ of London citizens."

"Monash University is a child of the Sixties. The University Library began with progressive policies on collection development, just as the University established itself in opposition to the stuffy respectability of Australia's sandstone universities by teaching modern American literature alongside Latin, Law and Medicine.

"One telling reminder of the Libraries idealistic youth is the run of Playboy magazine held in the Rare Books Collection..."
(Dr. Patrick Spedding, Lecturer in English Literature and Deputy Director of the Centre for the Book, Monash University).

From: An improved system of midwifery, adapted to the reformed practice
of medicine: illustrated by numerous plates …  by W. Beach 
Cincinnati: Moore, Wilstach, Keys & Co., 1859.
Note the extremely unusual medico-erotica composition.

But if a full run of Playboy doesn't remind you, the latest exhibition at Monash University Library in Melbourne, Australia will definitely jog your memory. Like a conk on the noggin.

From: Les bijoux indiscrets. Amsterdam: Marc-Michel Rey, 1772, 
Denis Diderot's 1748 tale of a vocal pudendum.

Lewd and Scandalous Books, which opened on July 14, 2010 and runs through September 30, 2010, is exhibited in conjunction with To Deprave and Corrupt: Forbidden, Hidden, and Censored Books presented by the 2010 Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand Conference.

From: Complete Works of Gaius Petronius done into English by Jack Lindsay 
with One Hundred Illustrations by Norman Lindsay.
London: Fanfrolico Press, 1927.

It appears as if Monash's Matheson Library and the Bibliographical Society are in cahoots with these salutes to Australia's heritage as a colony of outlaws and proud to dare the blue noses - though in this context blue nose might connote one who has their proboscis stuck in an erotic novel.

From: The Poetical Works of the Earls of Rochester, Roscomon 
and Dorset, the Dukes of Devonshire, Buckinghamshire, etc.: 
with memoirs of their lives (London: 1739).
Monash has set up an excellent virtual tour of the exhibition featuring all 113 books on display with notes by Dr. Spedding. It is well worth taking a few minutes to visit; it's the next best thing to being there.

Patrick Spedding publishes a fascinating blog concerning his scholarship in the farther shores of literature, and writes about developing and curating the exhibition here.

Considering yesterday's post, I would be remiss if I didn't include another of the books present in Lewd and Scandalous.

And what exhibition of erotica would be complete without:

La nymphomanie, ou traité de la fureur utérine …
par M. D. T. de Bienville, Nouv. Ed. 
Amsterdam: Marc-Michel Rey, 1778.

The Case of the Furious Uterus
or, This Cruel Malady.


Images courtesy of Matheson Library.

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