The Librarian’s Cellar: Erotic Fiction…a shade for every reader!

Anais Nin wrote the following: The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. To my mind, that quote pretty much articulates our raison d’être for writing in general, but also, with reference to the topic of this article, perhaps it also helps to explain the appeal of erotic literature. Since man and woman walked the earth, erotica has been around in one form or another. Secreted in ancient Greek and Roman scrolls, and carved on the walls in Pompeii, it was certainly available in printed matter from the fifteenth century on. Always there, always read, and now, once more flourishing in the limelight, thanks to a certain series, starring Anastasia and Christian…

Since the publication of her books, E.L James, the author of the Fifty Shades Trilogy, has sparked many a debate and review, many singing her praises for bringing erotic fiction back to the mainstream, while others wonder just what the fuss is all about. Andrew O’Hagan, in his London Review of Books article, had this to say…

“Fifty Shades of Grey has in store a further 300-page gala of repetitive sex, most of it – give or take a few smacks on the arse – completely conventional… in some quarters the publishing phenomenon of the year has been called ‘filthy’. But that must be a joke. It is a litany of swelling breasts and spent individuals, none of whom would be terrifically out of place at the more modest end of Mills & Boon.”

Personally, I have to give kudos to E.L James…she found a market and she conquered it, with 31 million copies of the series sold worldwide. And there is a movie in the making, or so the rumour goes! Hence, to see for myself if the book lived up to the hype, I downloaded the first of the three novels onto my much beloved Kindle, and here is my tuppence worth.

Anastasia is a studious, good-girl protagonist, who doesn’t really want to be good at all, and Christian, the ‘beautiful’, rich, though wounded from abuse, man-child antagonist, doesn’t like to be touched, DOES likes to hit women… but only for sexual gratification, you understand…It’s a fast read, not very imaginative, and the narrative, in places, is awkward or just plain silly. And I have to agree with Mister O’Hagan on the Mills & Boon comparison…with the odd sex toy and leather riding crop thrown in! However, it will, and certainly is, appealing to a lot of young ladies, especially the ones whom identify with their inner goddess, and the goddess speaks like Britney Spears!

[If my inner goddess were ever to manifest, she would probably sound more like a gravelly voiced Bette Davis!]

I won’t be reading books two and three…Bette would never forgive me!

Moving on…

I came across this article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jane-friedman/fifty-shades-of-grey-erotica_b_1681366.html?view=print&comm_ref=false , shared by the author Anne Rice on her Facebook page. Under the pseudonym of A. N. Roquelaure, Rice is the author of the erotic novels, The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy. I am definitely curious enough to want to read some of the titles mentioned in this list. Erotica, like all other genres of literature,  is subjective, with a shade for every reader…so go on now, you know you want to!

Check out Andrew O’Hagan’s complete review here: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v34/n14/andrew-ohagan/travelling-southwards

The author does not own the copyright to the image produced here.

Welcome ladies, to the psychological playground of the horror genre…

As a writer of ghostly and supernatural stories, one of my earliest literary influences as a young teenager came from the classic world of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Later, I became obsessed with the vampire chronicles of Anne Rice, the wonderfully gothic and ghostly tales of Susan Hill, and the everyday magic that lyrically dances from the pages of the novels of Alice Hoffman.

So it is very satisfying now, to see a resurgence in the popularity of the genre as more and more female writers delve into what Helen Dunmore refers to as a  “psychological playground”. An apt description, and where I am also quite happy to play, literally!

Although I do write drama, I am always drawn back to mixing up the gothic and the dark fairytale with the horror elements, and many of my stories, The Lupii, Evanescence, Iona’s House, Spinning with the Devil,  and of course, Vampire of Arkyne, all stem from this genre.  I can only aspire to reach the levels of the great ladies mentioned above, but I fully intend to keep trying, and to keep playing!

Anne Rice’s latest novel, The Wolf Gift, to be released on Valentine’s Day, will be my next read…