Manuel D’Érotologie Classique (de figuris Veneris) by Fred. Chas. Forberg, trans. Alcide Bonneau (Imprimé pour René Bonnel, Paris, 1933, #123/500)
6″ x 9.25″, 223pp, three quarter red leather, gilt titles on spine, 4 raised double bands, near fine condition, ribbon intact, hand-laid Arches paper (identifying watermarks), original paper covers bound in.
Rene Bonnel, the publisher of this edition, was one of the foremost publishers of finely printed illegal erotica in the 1930’s. This work was openly published and is no exception to the quality of his books.
De figuris Veneris (On the figures of Venus) was an anthology of ancient Greek and ancient Roman writings on erotic topics, discussed objectively and classified and grouped by subject matter. (I. Of Copulation, II. Of Pederastia, III. Of Irrumation, IV. Of Masturbation, V. Of Cunnilingues, VI. Of Tribads, VII. Of Intercourse with Animals, VIII. Of Spintrian Postures) It was first published by the German classicist Friedrich Karl Forberg in 1824 in Latin and Greek as “Antonii Panormitae Hermaphroditus”, an erotic poem sequence in renaissance Latin. Forberg later reprinted it as “Manuel D’Érotologie Classique (de figuris Veneris)”. It was translated into English (published by Charles Carrington in 1899 and again by Charles Hirsch in 1907), French and German (one French edition was illustrated by Édouard-Henri Avril [Paul Avril]). It concludes with a list of 95 sexual positions.
In 1899 Forberg’s work was translated into English and published by Charles Carrington as De figuris Veneris, Manual of classical erotology, and again in 1907 by Charles Hirsch, and into French, German and Spanish. The French edition by Alcide Bonneau was titled Manuel d’érotologie classique. One French edition of 1906 was illustrated by Édouard-Henri Avril, which concludes with a list of 95 sexual positions. Most of the editions were restricted to high society or censored; one of the copies edited in France was immediately deposited on the secret shelves of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.