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Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Reading with care

Reading with care and attention to historical and topographical detail would prevent people from posting on the internet an account of something that purports to be the menu from an early C20th brothel, with image, with claims that it refers to a London establishment, when the prices are in dollars, the address is 22nd St, and the spellings are US rather than UK usage. It has been suggested that in fact it derives from a fairly recent piece of erotica in pastiche period style.

Some years ago, in an earlier incarnation of  H-Histsex, there was a brief discussion touching on a series of novels with 'Cremorne' in the title, alluding to the famous C19th pleasure gardens, which were said to be reprinted works of Victorian pornography (though other descriptions indicate that the setting is Edwardian). A few years later I received an email from the person who had anonymously authored these during the 1990s... They appear to still be in print and to have taken on possibly new life as ebooks. I don't think I've ever come across them but am now tempted to find one just to see how convincing they are for period.

There is a long-ish tradition of modern pastiches of period works being taken as authentic narratives: a classic instance is Magdalen King-Hall's Diary of A Young Lady of Fashion 1764-65 (by 'Cleone Knox'). In spite of fairly early contemporary exposure of the 'hoax', this work still occasionally crops up being described as an authentic C18th account.

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