William Godwin, Inc. formally started operations in 1930. It seems to have been the outgrowth of a text book printing firm. The idea behind the imprint (Godwin was both the publishing company’s name and the name of one of its lines) appears to have been to expand the plant’s short run hard back printing business beyond the academic arena. Godwin was mostly an erotica imprint. In 1932, William Godwin, Inc. used the imprint, Rarity Press, and the text and illustrations of books originally published by the Fortune Press and John Lane, both of London, to bring out impressions of erotic classics that enjoyed “tremendous sales at Macy’s and Hearn’s at a dollar a piece.” They also used the imprint “Exotica Club, Inc.” for at least one book, Casanova’s Memoirs (with original art from the soon to be famous director, Vincente Minnelli). Godwin eventually organized a subsidiary known as Arcadia House Publications which published “good clean romances especially designed for the circulating library.” See Commuter Libraries.

  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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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