Nell in Bridewell (Lenchen im Zuchthause) | description of the system of corporal punishment (flagellation) in the female prisons of south Germany up to the year 1848; a contribution to the history of manner, by W. Reinhard, trans. W.C. Costello Ph. D. and A. R. Allinson M. A. (Society of British Bibliophiles, Paris, 1900, one of 500, unnumbered, “Imprimerie A. -G. Lemale, Havre”, first edition, first english translation)
8″ X 5″, xv+326pp, half red morocco on red boards, gilt title and decorations on spine and boards, 5 raised bands, minor bumping and rubbing, printed on hand-made Van Gelder paper, very good condition for age, price tag mark on front cover, a tear and some bumping, spine is creased, binding is still good, without accompanying illustrations.
Originally published in Germany in 1840 (which calls into question the subtitle of the present volume). Although the title suggests that this is a “study”, this book is more of a narrative than a study. It goes beyond the facts and delves into the minds of those who are doing the punishing and those who are being humiliated and punished. Publishers of these “flagellation novels” would often lesson their liability by representing their books as academic studies. Often they would go unnoticed by the larger community unaware of the erotic nature of such a book to a certain segment of the public. In this book, Nell describes in graphic terms the merciless floggings she witnessed of girls and young women, as well as of boys and men and confesses to disturbingly confusing emotions that such sights occasioned in her. She recalls the lustful expressions on the faces of the onlookers, records the fervent words of gratitude to the skillful flogger from the lips of grand ladies who “were only too delighted to see such girls whipped”, and tells of the evidently sensual appetites such cruelties incited in the torturers.