Although largely forgotten today, Commuter Libraries were very common during the Depression. Often called Circulating Libraries or Public Lending Libraries, these for profit businesses rented books to the public, charging a standard 3 cents a day per book. In a way they were something akin to today’s video rental stores. The majority of Commuter Libraries were book stores which had turned to renting inventory out after the Depression had killed sales. The rest of the Commuter Libraries were side businesses located in pool halls, taverns, drug stores and tobacco shops. Most new material introduced into these smaller libraries was erotic in nature. Godwin’s sales manager Sam Curl had created a third network of Commuter Libraries centered on train depots, in-train concessions, hotels and general stores.

  • The Adventures of King Pausole, Pierre Louys, trans. Charles Hope Lumley, illustrated by Beresford Egan (Privately Printed for William Godwin, Inc., New York, 1933) 9 1/2" X 6 1/2", 312pp, hardbound no DJ, red cloth with silver gilting on the spine and a nude woman on the cover, good condition, binding strong, some fading on covers and spine. Pierre Louys (1870 - 1925) was a French poet and writer, most renowned for lesbian and classical themes in some of his writings. He is known as a writer who "expressed pagan sensuality with stylistic perfection." This book is a humorous and risqué "libertine" story about a king with many wives (one for each day of the year). As part of the story, King Pausole had two laws "1. hurt no man. 2. Then do as you please."
  • Out of stock
    The Complete Works of Gaius Petronius: Done into English by Jack Lindsay, with One Hundred Illustrations by Norman Lindsay: Comprising The Satyricon and Poems, Gaius Petronius, trans. & illust. Jack Lindsay (Rarity Press, New York, 1932) 9.5" X 6.5", 183pp, Hardcover no DJ, red cloth boards, botton and fore edges deckled. Good condition for age, a fading on spine, silver gilt lettering and decorations Satyricon is a work of fiction in a mixture of prose and poetry believed to have been written by Gaius Petronius. The surviving portions of the text detail the misadventures of the narrator, Encolpius, and his lover, a handsome sixteen-year-old boy named Giton. This edition also contains selected poems by Petronius.
  • Out of stock
    Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, Omar Khayyam, trans. Edward FitzGerald , "Presented by Willy Pogany" (William Godwin, Inc., New York, 1933) 9.25" x 6.25", unpaginated (approx. 200pp), hardbound no DJ, black cloth boards with silver gilt title on spine and naked woman on front cover. Good condition, corners bumped, binding holding. Illustrations are color and fading. This is a 1933 copy of a William Pogany's artful presentation originally published in 1909. Pogany (1882-1955) was a prolific Hungarian illustrator of children's and other books. Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám is the title that Edward FitzGerald gave to his translation of a selection of poems, originally written in Persian. About 1000 are attributed to Omar Khayyám, a Persian poet, mathmatician and astronomer. Although an important and beautiful piece of literature, it is not the most literal translation, critics refer it as "The Rubiyat of FitzOmar". The introduction contains a poem by James Russell Lowell often considered the origin of the phrase "pearls of wisdom".
  • The Natural Philosophy of Love, Remy De Gourmont, trans. Ezra Pound (Rarity Press, New York, 1931 ) 9.5" X 6.5", 183pp, Hardcover no DJ, red cloth boards, botton and fore edges deckled. Good condition for age, a fading on spine, silver gilt lettering and decorations A prose work studying love and sexuality, by Remy de Gourmont (1858-1915), the French symbolist and poet. Translated with a postscript by the well known poet Ezra Pound. Pound writes, "This remarkable work of research by one of Europe's foremost men of letters is a careful scientific inquiry into the subject of sex in relation to man and the lower animals. It deals in a fresh and masterly way with the biological basis of the sexual instinct. All phases of the sexual ceremony are here discussed; the quaint and curious customs among obscure tribes, many of them ritualistic in nature, are treated. The physical manifestations of sexual love, its organic and mechanistic faculties, are carefully analyzed in relation to its psychological factors. Whether as a work of literature or of science this treatise is worthy of its reissue."
  • Casanova's Memoirs, Giacomo Casanova, ed. Joseph Monét, illus. Vincente Minnelli (Privately Printed by Exotica Club, Inc., New York, 1930, first edition thus) 9.75" X 6.5", 290pp., hardbound no DJ, red cloth boards with silver gilt titles on spine and a silver gilt figure of a naked woman on the front. Fore edge deckled. In good condition, binding is good. Giovanni Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798) was an ecclesiastic, writer, soldier, spy, and diplomatist, chiefly remembered as the prince of Italian adventurers and as the man who made the name Casanova synonymous with "libertine." His autobiography, which perhaps exaggerates some of his escapades, is a splendid description of 18th-century society in the capitals of Europe. As far as I can tell this is the only illustration work done by Vincente Minnelli [obscure at the time but later famous director and husband of Judy Garland], done soon after he moved to New York from Chicago and before he landed a steady job at Radio City Music Hall. In his autobiography he described the work as "in the Aubrey Beardsley style".
  • Casanova's Memoirs, Giacomo Casanova, ed. Joseph Monét, illus. Vincente Minnelli (obscure at the time but later famous director and husband of Judy Garland) (Privately Printed by Exotica Club, Inc., New York, 1930) 9.75" X 6.5", 290pp., hardbound no DJ, red cloth boards with silver gilt titles on spine and a silver gilt figure of a naked woman on the front. Fore edge deckled. In fair condition, damage to top of spine, corners and spine bumped, binding is good. Giovanni Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798) was an ecclesiastic, writer, soldier, spy, and diplomatist, chiefly remembered as the prince of Italian adventurers and as the man who made the name Casanova synonymous with 'libertine.' His autobiography, which perhaps exaggerates some of his escapades, is a splendid description of 18th-century society in the capitals of Europe. As far as I can tell this is the only illustration work done by Vincente Minnelli, done soon after he moved to New York from Chicago and before he landed a steady job at Radio City Music Hall. In his autobiography he described the work as "in the Aubrey Beardsley style".
  • Amorous Fiammetta, Giovanni Boccaccio, introduction by Edward Hutton, trans. & illus. various unknown. (Rarity Press, New York, 1931 ) 9.5" X 6.5", 356pp, Hardcover no DJ, red cloth boards, botton and fore edges deckled. Good condition for age, a fading on spine, silver gilt lettering and decorations Originally titled "Elegia di Madonna Fiammetta" (The Elegy of Lady Fiammetta), this marvelous European romance was written by Giovanni Boccaccio somewhere between 1343 and 1344.  It is a first-person confessional monologue narrated by a woman and is considered the first psychological novel in a modern language and a precursor of stream-of-consciousness fiction. Lady Fiammetta, recounts how, although a married woman, she falls in love with a handsome young foreigner named Panfilo and, becomes his lover. Panfilo subsequently abandons Fiammetta and returns to his native land, where his father is said to be dying. When he fails to keep his promise to return, Fiammetta, describes her longings, her anguish, and her despair. A host of contradictory sentiments drive her to desperation and to an unsuccessful suicide attempt. After a time, Fiammetta resumes her futile wait for Panfilo. She finally resolves to seek him out in his native land. Disguising her true intent from her husband, she secures his promise to help her in this undertaking. Addressing an exclusively female audience, Fiammetta warns them about the vicious ways of men. Her whole narrative adds up to an indictment of men as both readers and lovers. Fiammetta has been variously described as a pathetic victim of male cruelty; an irresponsible fool of a girl; a sophisticated, cunning, and wholly disingenuous female; and, finally, a genuinely modern woman. Whatever judgment we make of her, Fiammetta stands out among medieval women as an ardent and outspoken feminist. Sometime around 1330 Boccaccio fell in love and married his "Fiammetta" who most believe is Maria d'Aquino (?-1382), a royal bastard, an illegitimate daughter of Robert the Wise, King of Naples and Count of Provence. He wrote about her and their relationship in several of his literary works. She is traditionally identified as Fiammetta. According to him, Maria's mother was a Provençal noblewoman, Sibila Sabran, wife of Count Thomas IV of Aquino. She was born after Countess Sibila and King Robert committed adultery at his coronation festivities in 1310, but was given the family name of her mother's husband. Her putative father placed her in a convent. In 1345 she was an accomplice in the murder of King Andrew, the husband of her niece and Robert's successor, Queen Joanna I. For this Maria was sentenced to death and beheaded in 1382 on the orders of Queen Joanna I's successor, King Charles III.
  • The Works of Aretino, Pietro Aretino, illust. Franz von Bayros, biographical essay and translation unknown [likely Samuel Putnam] (Rarity Press, New York, 1931 ) 9.5" X 6.5", 280pp, Hardcover with DJ, red cloth boards, botton and fore edges deckled. Good condition for age, a few tears to DJ. Pietro Aretino (1492-1556) was one of the most important figures in Italian Renaissance literature, and certainly the most controversial. Condemned by some as a pornographer, his infamy was due largely to his use of explicit sexuality and the vulgar tongue of ordinary speech in much of his work. Dialogues centres around a conversation between two rather frank, experienced, and sharp-tongued women on the topic of women's occupations. We learn that at the time there were only three: wife, whore, or nun. Their discussion is a rollicking account of the advantages, perils, and pleasures each profession offers. Not only was Dialogues the first erotic book in the Christian world to be written in the common vernacular, it was but one of the few to describe the obscenity of commercial love, and is thus a cornerstone of both Italian literature and Counter-Renaissance vigour. This edition contains famous erotic illustrations by Franz von Bayros.
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