The Sword and Womankind: being a study of the influence of “The Queen of Wepons” upon the moral and social status of women. Adapted from Ed. de Beauont’s “L’Epée et les Femmes,” with addtions and an index by Alfred Allinson, M.A. Oxon., and an etched frontispiece by Albert Bessé, [frontispiece actually by Paul Avril, engraved by E. Leon] (The Imperial Press [Charles Carrington], Essex Street, Strand, London, W.C., 1905, #487/1000)
5.75″x8.75″, xx+410pp, 1/2 while vellum over marbled boards, gilt title and decorations on spine, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt others deckled, frontispiece features a rare Paul Avril print and NOT Albert Bessé, numerous notes written lightly in margins in pencil, ribbon present, near fine copy, owner’s ex libris stamp is evident on a few pages
Beaumont, with a characteristic French point of view, believes in a feminine interpretation of history – which is, that all important historic events are caused by women. But unlike most Frenchmen he believed that all such events are caused by naughty women. This is a history of those women, adapted from the original French. Sample chapters: In barbarous ages woman is a divinity – Frea, the Scandinavian Venus; Swordsmen become the agents of women’s sexual excesses – public defiances concerning harlots; Debauchery during the crusades – chivalry modified by oriental passions; New ways of love and dalliance – interest in salacious art. History of consequences of gender and sex including degradation of women, concubines, chastity belts, prostitutes, debauchery during crusades, erotic literature, duelists, cavaliers, orgies, etc. The book repeatedly advises that it is privately printed for subscribers only which was a legal fiction designed to get around obscenity laws prohibiting the public sale of such books.
Édouard-Henri Avril (1849-1928) used the pseudonym “Paul Avril” for his erotic work. He was a French painter and commercial artist. His career saw collaboration with influential people like Octave Uzanne, Henry Spencer Ashbee and Friedrich Karl Forberg. He is one of the most celebrated erotic artists of his age. Avril was a soldier before starting his career in art. He was awarded with the Legion of Honour for his actions in the Franco-Prussian War.