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Yes, all this and more can be found in the first printing of Letters from Laura and Eveline in 110 years! It’s out in hardcover from Valancourt Publishing from 1 October. Letters is the 1883 ‘sequel’ to the 1881 Sins of the Cities of the Plain, which was the putative memoir of Jack Saul, a Victorian Mary-Ann who was paid by a client to write the lascivious episodes of his life. Letters, on the other hand, takes place on the occasion of Eveline’s (Saul) and Laura’s (Ernest Boulton) weddings and are first person accounts of the goings on in the bridal chambers. If this doesn’t do it for you, perhaps the contemporary pornography collector Henry Spencer Ashbee’s assessment of the epistolary novel will convince you. He wrote in 1885 that

“after [the] details [of the wedding night], as disgusting as they are absurd, follows the description of an orgie, still more filthy and impossible, enacted by numerous ladies and gentlemen, at a London club, in honour of the said nuptials. The work, which is from the pen of its publisher, is mainly remarkable for its gross obscenity both in idea and language, and possesses no literary merit whatever.”

I’m proud to say that I transcribed, edited, and introduced this work, which is an important piece of Victorian pornography which has remained understudied due to its unavailability. In addition to the introduction and notes are also rare period texts, including a penny pamphlet on the Boulton and Park trial and various letters presented as evidence of the ‘conspiracy to commit a felony [see: sodomy]’ they were charged with. Sensationalized accounts of famous scandals notwithstanding, Letters from Laura and Eveline makes for fascinating depictions of various Victorian subcultures, with the author(s) leaving small clues throughout the text.

If you have any questions about the text, please contact me and I’d be happy to talk your ear off about it; the book is quite central to my own research on Victorian pornographic publishing and print culture.

Available now for pre-order.

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