Libertine Literature in England, 1660–1745  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Libertine Literature in England, 1660–1745 (1963) are a series of essays published by David Foxon in The Book Collector, XII, 1, 2, 3 (Spring, Summer, Winter, 1963), 21-36, 159-177, 294-307. It was published in book form in 1965.

"In Libertine Literature Foxon interprets the advertisement for The School of Venus as a clue to a hidden vein of English culture. It had been assumed that there had been no pornography in the seventeenth century except for Rochester, and that the first legal proceedings had been against Curll in 1727. Foxon argues that, on the contrary, there had been rapid importation of French pornography and a willingness to risk prosecution. The first chapter is informed by his visits to the Public Record Office during his lunch hours, and lists government actions against pornography from 1660 to 1745. He paints a lively picture of the trade in pornography by printers, publishers, and hawkers, with a particularly telling glimpse of the Brett family, who sent out their children to buy ‘The Complete Set of the Charts of Merryland’ and The School of Venus for selling on to customers, and of George Spavan, who made a guinea a week from sales of The School of Venus alone."[1]

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