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ILAB Library - All You Need To Know About Rare Books and the Antiquarian Book Trade
Published since 14 May 2013
It’s a common enough problem: you’re a young buck newly arrived in the big city, you’re eager to find a prostitute, but you don’t know where to start — you don’t want to be ripped off and you don’t want to come down with a disease. Enter Jack Harris, the “Pimp General of All England,” with his eminently useful reference book: a guide to London’s strumpets, their specialties, and their fees. Even though prostitution was illegal, both the author and the users would have taken comfort in the fact that there was no organized law enforcement to do anything about it.
Published since 28 Nov 2012
Probably the most notorious seventeenth-century sex manual bore the strange title Aristotle’s Masterpiece. This book bears a fake author’s name — the Greek philosopher had nothing to do with it — in order to give the work some measure of respectability. The ruse didn’t work; Aristotle’s Masterpiece was banned in Britain until the 1960s. But the prohibition didn’t keep it from circulating: it was one of the most notorious, and widely distributed, sex books in the English language.
Published since 12 Aug 2011The Roman poet Ovid not only had his book, Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love) banned, but he himself was banished from Rome for writing it in the year 8 CE. All of his works were burned by Savonarola in his infamous bonfire of the vanities in 1497. Christopher Marlowe translated it in 1599, and his translation was banned. U.S. Customs banned it in 1930 - nearly two thousand years later. This makes it a candidate, if not the winner, of the dubious distinction of being the longest (in time) banned book.