Recent Acquisition

Risqué Literature

Kock, Paul de, 1793-1871. The accused wife; or, jealousy in a fog! "Library of Love, Laughter and Logic." New York: Holland and Glover, [184-?]

A fortuitous purchase from Steve Finer has enabled AAS to add no fewer than 12 titles to its enviable holdings of 19th-century risqué literature. All are translations of works by the prolific French novelist Paul de Kock, whose mildly salacious chronicles of low- and middle-class Parisian life offended some and entertained many.

The accused wife begins: "There are now in Paris certain streets, dishonored as much as a man can be guilty of infamy; then there are noble streets, then streets merely honest, then young streets ... In short, the streets of Paris have human qualities, and impress upon us, by their physiognomy, certain ideas, against which we are defenceless... " And helplessly drawn in, we read on, our imaginations stimulated further by the carefully chosen illustrations. During the 1840s Holland and Glover supplied Americans with many of de Kock's works in cheap pamphlet editions, as well as translations of the latest French manuals revealing the "physiological mysteries" of love, courtship, and marriage.

See Marcus A. McCorison's online bibliography of Risqué Literature Published in America Before 1877 for more titles in the AAS collections.

Harry G. Stoddard Memorial and Janet & Marcus McCorison Funds.

~ David Whitesell, Curator of Books

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C.C. Baldwin "One day I am visited by a collector of ordination sermons; the next, by a collector of 4th of July orations; then comes a collector of geography; another wants religious newspapers; another wants every book printed in New York before 1700. I accommodate myself to all; for I want every thing and collect every thing, and I have more zeal than the whole of them: and in this way I am kept very busy."
~Christopher Columbus Baldwin
 3rd Librarian of AAS