Pierre Louÿs (December 10, 1870 – June 6, 1925) was a French poet and writer, most renowned for lesbian and classical themes in some of his writings. It has been said that he “expressed pagan sensuality with stylistic perfection.”

Pierre Louÿs was born Pierre Louis on December 10, 1870 in Ghent, Belgium, but moved to France where he would spend the rest of his life. He studied at the École Alsacienne in Paris, and there he developed a close friendship with a future Nobel Prize winner and champion of homosexual rights, André Gide. In the 1890s, he became a friend of the noted English dramatist and homosexual, Oscar Wilde. Although heterosexual, Louÿs enjoyed entree into homosexual circles. Louÿs started writing his first erotic texts at the age of 18, at which point he developed an interest in the Parnassian and Symbolist schools of writing.

  • The Songs of Bilitis, Translated from the Greek, Put into English from the French of Pierre Louys by Horace Manchester Brown, illust. James Fagan (Privately Printed for Members of the Aldus Society, London and New York, 1904, #30/971) 7.25"x10.25", 341pp., 3/4 blue leather over blue boards, gilt decorations on boards, gilt titles and gilt and color decorations on spine, marbled boards, top edge gilt, other edges deckled, frontispiece portrait of author and two original etchings by James Fagan, good+ condition for age, some rubbing on spine and bumping to corners. Early (first?) translation of Les Chansons de Bilitis, rare and beautifully bound english translation of this classic in lesbian literature. The Songs of Bilitis (Les Chansons de Bilitis) is a collection of erotic, essentially lesbian, poetry by Pierre Louÿs published in Paris in 1894. Since Louÿs claimed that he had translated the original poetry from Ancient Greek, this work is considered a pseudotranslation. The poems are in the manner of Sappho; the collection's introduction claims they were found on the walls of a tomb in Cyprus, written by a woman of Ancient Greece called Bilitis, a courtesan and contemporary of Sappho to whose life Louÿs dedicated a small section of the book. On publication, the volume deceived even the most expert of scholars. Louÿs claimed the 143 prose poems, excluding 3 epitaphs, were entirely the work of this ancient poet — a place where she poured both her most intimate thoughts and most public actions, from childhood innocence in Pamphylia to the loneliness and chagrin of her later years. Although for the most part The Songs of Bilitis is original work, many of the poems were reworked epigrams from the Palatine Anthology, and Louÿs even borrowed some verses from Sappho herself. The poems are a blend of mellow sensuality and polished style in the manner of the Parnassian school, but underneath run subtle Gallic undertones that Louÿs could never escape. To lend authenticity to the forgery, Louÿs in the index listed some poems as "untranslated"; he even craftily fabricated an entire section of his book called "The Life of Bilitis", crediting a certain fictional archaeologist Herr G. Heim ("Mr. C. Cret" in German) as the discoverer of Bilitis' tomb. And though Louÿs displayed great knowledge of Ancient Greek culture, ranging from children's games in "Tortie Tortue" to application of scents in "Perfumes", the literary fraud was eventually exposed. This did little, however, to taint their literary value in readers' eyes, and Louÿs' open and sympathetic celebration of lesbian sexuality earned him sensation and historic significance.
  • Collected Works of Pierre Louys, Aphrodite, Woman and Puppet, The Songs of Billitis, The Adventures of King Pausole, The Twilight of the Nymphs, Sanguines, Psyche, Pierre Louys, Illust. by Harry G. Spanner, trans. by Mitchell S. Buck (Liveright Publishing Corporation, New York, 1932) 5.75" X 7.75", xii+742pp., black boards with gilt nude on cover, gilt and blue titles and decorations on spine, top edge inked, other edges deckled, printed on fine hand-layed paper 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." Mitchell Starrett Buck (February 10, 1887 – May 12, 1959) was an American poet, translator and classical scholar. His volumes of verse and prose poetry were deeply influenced by 1890s aestheticism as well as classical Greek and Roman Literature. Buck’s writing was secondary to his work as a heating engineer, and the money he made professionally allowed him to become a noted book-collector, specializing in first editions, English literature, Greek and Latin classics. Buck’s first book was a translation of Aphrodite by the French decadent Pierre Louÿs (1870-1925). It appeared in 1913, and was “privately printed”, probably at Buck’s expense. It may have been arranged through the Philadelphia bookseller Nicholas L. Brown, who officially became a publisher in 1916, and thereafter issued most of Buck’s output. Between 1916 and 1932, Brown published small editions of poetry, belles lettres, translations, sometimes without his imprint but stating that the title has been “issued privately for subscribers” (in order to evade prosecution for dealing in obscene materials). Such classical erotica is very tame by modern standards, but in the teens and twenties such material was policed by self-appointed authorities such as John S. Sumner of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice.
  • Aphrodite, done into English from the French of Pierre Louys, by Pierre Louÿs, illus. unknown, (Privately Printed for Subscribers Only[Mitchell S. Buck], 1913, #66/550) 6.5"x8.75", xi+258pp+Notes+Index, cream vellum spine over green boards, gilt titles on spine, good condition, some bumping and rubbing Buck's translation is easier to read than Carrington's translation a few years earlier.  This was his first book, most likely, self-published and printed by Nicholas L. Brown. 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." "Aphrodite: mæurs antiques" (Ancient Manners) is a "libertine" story set in ancient Alexandria. Highlights include the loves of Chrysis, an orgy banquet ending in the crucifixion of a slave, the love of two young musician girls and the festivals of Aphrodite." Mitchell Starrett Buck (February 10, 1887 – May 12, 1959) was an American poet, translator and classical scholar. His volumes of verse and prose poetry were deeply influenced by 1890s aestheticism as well as classical Greek and Roman Literature. Buck’s writing was secondary to his work as a heating engineer, and the money he made professionally allowed him to become a noted book-collector, specializing in first editions, English literature, Greek and Latin classics. Buck’s first book was a translation of Aphrodite by the French decadent Pierre Louÿs (1870-1925). It appeared in 1913, and was “privately printed”, probably at Buck’s expense. It may have been arranged through the Philadelphia bookseller Nicholas L. Brown, who officially became a publisher in 1916, and thereafter issued most of Buck’s output. Between 1916 and 1932, Brown published small editions of poetry, belles lettres, translations, sometimes without his imprint but stating that the title has been “issued privately for subscribers” (in order to evade prosecution for dealing in obscene materials). Such classical erotica is very tame by modern standards, but in the teens and twenties such material was policed by self-appointed authorities such as John S. Sumner of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice.
  • Aphrodite, mæurs antiques, by Pierre Louÿs, illus. A. Calbet (Librairie Borel, Paris, 1896) 3.75"x 6.75", 392pp, full red leather with gilt decorations and titles, 4 raised bands, beautifully bound, decorated pastedowns, a fine example, good+ condition, some rubbing and bumping 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." "Aphrodite: mæurs antiques" (Ancient Manners) is a "libertine" story set in ancient Alexandria. Highlights include the loves of Chrysis, an orgy banquet ending in the crucifixion of a slave, the love of two young musician girls and the festivals of Aphrodite. Antoine Calbet (1860-1942) was a French painter, watercolourist, draftsman, engraver and illustrator.
  • Aphrodite, a novel of ancient manners, by Pierre Louÿs, illus. Ed. Zier (Charles Carrington, 1906, first edition thus, first English translation) 5.25 x 7.75", xiv+412pp, rebound with plain blue boards, fine condition 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." "Aphrodite: mæurs antiques" (Ancient Manners) is a "libertine" story set in ancient Alexandria. Highlights include the loves of Chrysis, an orgy banquet ending in the crucifixion of a slave, the love of two young musician girls and the festivals of Aphrodite. "This Translation of Aphrodite was executed on the Printing Presses of Charles Herissey, at Evreux (France), for Mr. Charles Carrington, Paris, Bookseller et Publisher, and is the only complete English version extant." Édouard François Zier (1856-1924) was a French illustrator and painter.
  • Aphrodite, a novel of ancient manners, by Pierre Louÿs, illus. Ed. Zier (Charles Carrington, 1906, first edition thus, first English translation) 5.25 x 8", 412pp, full green moroccan, gilt lettering and decoration on spine and borders, 5 raised bands, gilt edges, gilt decorations boardering pastedown, near fine condition, some cracks in the hinges. 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." "Aphrodite: mæurs antiques" (Ancient Manners) is a "libertine" story set in ancient Alexandria. Highlights include the loves of Chrysis, an orgy banquet ending in the crucifixion of a slave, the love of two young musician girls and the festivals of Aphrodite. "This Translation of Aphrodite was executed on the Printing Presses of Charles Herissey, at Evreux (France), for Mr. Charles Carrington, Paris, Bookseller et Publisher, and is the only complete English version extant." A beautiful example of this important first edition of the first translation. Very hard to find in full leather. Édouard François Zier (1856-1924) was a French illustrator and painter.
  • Aphrodite, a novel of ancient manners, by Pierre Louÿs, illus. Ed. Zier (Charles Carrington, 1906, first edition thus, first English translation) 5.25 x 8", 412pp, marbled boards with three quarter red cloth, gilt lettering and decoration on spine, very good condition for age, some slight bumping/scuffing 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." "Aphrodite: mæurs antiques" (Ancient Manners) is a "libertine" story set in ancient Alexandria. Highlights include the loves of Chrysis, an orgy banquet ending in the crucifixion of a slave, the love of two young musician girls and the festivals of Aphrodite. "This Translation of Aphrodite was executed on the Printing Presses of Charles Herissey, at Evreux (France), for Mr. Charles Carrington, Paris, Bookseller et Publisher, and is the only complete English version extant." Édouard François Zier, (1856-1924) was a French illustrator and painter.
  • Aphrodite, mœurs antiques, by Pierre Louÿs, illus. Eduard Zier (Librairie Illustree, J. Tallandier, Éditeur, nd [c. 1900], Paris, printed by Charles Hérissey, engravings executed by Ruckert et Cie, on Champon, Bichelberger et Cie ) 6.75" x 10", 374pp, hardbound in half buckram over marbled boards, very good condition for age, some bumping to boards and foxing throughout pages, red ribbon intact 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." "Aphrodite: mæurs antiques" (Ancient Manners) is a "libertine" story set in ancient Alexandria. Highlights include the loves of Chrysis, an orgy banquet ending in the crucifixion of a slave, the love of two young musician girls and the festivals of Aphrodite.
  • The Adventures of King Pausole, Pierre Louys, ilustrated by Lotan Welshans ("Privately Printed in a Strictly Limited Edition for Members of The Society of Sophisticates", no date, [c. 1927, the date of the illustrations], [first edition thus]) 9 5/8" X 6 5/8", 305pp, hardbound, no dust jacket, boards green floral pattern, gilt lettering and designs on spine, top edge gilted, other edges deckle, good condition. 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. harm no man. 2. Then do as you please." Spider-webb-patterned tissue coverings on the nine exotic and sensuous plates (gilt on black paper tipped in), by Lotan Weshans.
  • Out of stock
    The Adventures of King Pausole, Pierre Louys, ilustrated by Lotan Welshans ("Privately Printed in a Strictly Limited Edition for Members of The Society of Sophisticates", no date, [c. 1927, the date of the illustrations], [first edition thus]) 9 5/8" X 6 5/8", 305pp, hardbound with dust jacket, boards green with gilt, gilt lettering and designs on spine, top edge gilted, other edges deckle, good condition, binding loose and boards loose but intact, dust jacket in fair condition with a few tears and small portion of spine top torn off. Ex-Libris Duane Bird 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."  Spider-webb-patterned tissue coverings on the nine exotic and sensuous plates (gilt on black paper tipped in), by Lotan Weshans.
  • The Adventures of King Pausole, Pierre Louys, trans. Charles Hope Lumley, illustrated by Beresford Egan (The Fortune Press, London, 1929, #333/1200, "printed at Leige by the Imprimerie Vaillant-Carmanne - M. C. M. XXIX") 9 1/4" X 7", 312pp, hardbound no DJ, quarter cloth, marbled boards, gilt lettering on spine, printed on "batchelor hand-made paper", top edge gilted other edges deckle, in good condition, corners are bumped, some pages remain uncut, spine slightly cocked, some light rubbing to tail some pages remain unread/uncut 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." This law has been embraced many including pagan/wiccan community when Aleister Crowley introduced this as his "First Law". First English edition, 6 full page colour plates by Beresford.
  • Aphrodite (Ancient Manners), Pierre Louys, trans. Willis L. Parker, illustrator Frank J. Buttera (Three Sirens Press, New York, 1932) 9 1/2" X 6 1/4", 251pp, hardbound no DJ, red cloth over boards with gilt decorations, deckle fore and bottom edge, inked top edge, very good condition, minor bumping to corners 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." "Aphrodite: mæurs antiques" (Ancient Manners) is a "libertine" story set in ancient Alexandria. Highlights include the loves of Chrysis, an orgy banquet ending in the crucifixion of a slave, the love of two young musician girls and the festivals of Aphrodite. This edition is illustrated by Frank J. Buttera
  • 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."
  • Woman and Puppet, Pierre Louys, illustrated by Clara Tice, "designed and supervised by Harry Cunningham" (The Pierre Louys Society, US, 1927, #617/990) 9 7/8" X 6 1/2", 270pp, hardbound with , black boards with red titles and decorations, MINT condition, with dust jacket wrapped in mylar. Bookstore stamp on front paste-down "C. J. Schnieder Books" During the carnival in Seville, the Frenchman André Stévenol meets and falls under the spell of Conception 'Concita' Perez, a young Andalusian woman. His friend, don Mateo Diaz warns him off by describing his own history with the woman – a history of being repeatedly attracted and then rebuffed by her. Conchita continually flirted with other men to torture don Mateo. On each occasion he was made to feel guilty for his jealous thoughts and actions towards her, until he realised finally that he had been her puppet for fourteen months and in an explosion of passion he beat her. She then astonished him by declaring the violence a sign of the strength of his love and came to his bed. She was a virgin. Although the two then started living together, she continued her flirtatious behaviour towards other men and simultaneously became very possessive. Don Mateo left the country and travelled for a year to escape her. The novel has a short epilogue, described as the moral of the piece. The Frenchman accidentally meets Conchita again, and they spend the night together. The next morning, as Conchita packs her bags for Paris, a note is received from don Mateo asking to be taken back into Conchita's good graces. 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." Woman and Puppet is described as "Spanish romance". The "puppet" in the story refers to men she is able or unable to bend to her will.
  • Collected Works of Pierre Louys, Pierre Louys (Shakespeare House, New York, 1951) 6.75" X 4.5", 628pp., hardbound in blue-grey buckram boards with simulated leather spine, gilt decorations (portrait of Shakespear) on cover. Fine condition, ribbon intact. 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 is a collection which contains Aphrodite, The Songs of Bilitis, The Adventures of King Pausole, and 9 of his short stories.
  • Pierre Louys (Privately printed for Subscribers only, Paris, nd. [c. 1920] ) 9.25" X 6", xvi 412pp, hardbound in marbled simulated leather cloth, edges deckled. Very good condition.
  • The Twilight of the Nymphs, Pierre Louys, illustrated by Clara Tice, "designed and supervised by Harry Cunningham" (The Pierre Louys Society, US, 1927, #682/990) 9.75" x 6.5", 235pp, white boards with silver gilt decorations on cover and spine, no dustjacket, fair condition, back boards loose but holding, pages clean. 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." A collection of seven mildly erotic fables based on mythology. "This Edition Limited to 1250 copies of which 990 are for America, No. 682". 28 beautiful color illustrations by Clara Tice, all with tissue overlay and enhanced with gilt and silver.
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