Alfredo Valenzuela |
Seville (EFE).- Erotic and pornographic literature, despite being published clandestinely at that time, had enormous vigor in Spain as revealed by “Eros de papel”, a bibliographical study that reviews and catalogs half a thousand titles published during the 19th century and up to the end of the Civil War, 1939.
Compiled by the emeritus professor of the French University of Tours Jean-Louis Guereña, who has spent more than forty years dedicated to the study of the social and cultural history of Spain, each of these titles has in “Eros de Papel” a file that includes a description of the publication, a summary of its content and references to the edition and print run, among other issues of bibliographic interest.
Most of the titles included in “Eros de papel” are as far away as one can imagine from political correctness, as explicit as their content in most cases, although some border on the poetic, such as “The Garden of Venus” , and others seem to question the potential reader directly: “Fuck me!”
Other titles are misleading, such as “Los tres favores” or “El túnel de las delicias”, imitate travel literature, such as “El Tren Expreso en Joda”, allude to romanticism, such as “Havoc of love”, to the weather, like “The heat makes shit”, to history, like “Roman Scandals” or directly border on obstetric science, like “Speculum”.
The humorous trait is not only reflected in the titles of these stories, but also in some of their characters, such as the protagonist named “Francisco Jones” or a supposed publisher and bookseller specialized in these secret literatures named “Felipe Lotas.”
The researcher cites titles whose existence is known because they have been reviewed in other publications or in old catalogues, but which he has not been able to hold in his hands or locate in any library, and on numerous occasions he speaks of “unique” copies, such as the titled «Ten years of the life of a woman» or an erotic parody of «La verbena de la paloma», with the same title as the zarzuela.
Aware that many other publications must remain to be discovered and inventoried, due to the very nature of these editions that were born in clandestinity, that were persecuted and secretly kept by their owners, if not destroyed, Guereña demonstrates with his bibliographical research that erotic production -pornography existed in Spain in the second half of the 19th century.
Also that these publications in that period and in the first third of the 20th century “were more varied and extensive than what could be thought at first, due to ignorance.” And that there were very old ones, such as the treasured copy in the National Library entitled “Las putas y pimps of Madrid”, from 1839, “mysteriously saved and preserved” for almost two centuries.
Published by the Sevillian publisher Renacimiento, “Eros de papel”, with its almost 800 pages, among which are reproduced some vintage pornographic illustrations in color and in black and white, bears the extensive subtitle “A Spanish hell. An inventory of clandestine erotic publications (19th-20th centuries)”.
“Hell” refers to the place, more hidden than concealed, that was reserved in private libraries for this type of publication, to the point that Guereña points to the case of a collector who kept hundreds of pornographic novels, chromotypes, and sicaliptic postcards in the interior of several volumes of “The Christian Year” that he had previously left empty.
“A Spanish hell”
The bibliographical research also bears the subtitle “Hell” in honor of “A Spanish hell”, a title carried by the first bibliography of this nature made by Guereña in 2011, although that one brought together 230 titles, less than half of the current one. .
The professor considers that preparing a bibliography of this type is always a “work in progress” that will rarely be considered finished, since the very nature of these books and pamphlets, of which in most cases it is unknown if the The print run was large or small, it destined them for a secret life, to remain hidden, if not to be destroyed after a brief existence.
The lists of private library auctions and antiquarian bookstore catalogs have been sources of this bibliography, and its author dedicates an epigraph to «An international erotic book market. Booksellers and collectors », with mention of the library of the filmmaker Luis García Berlanga, a « collection of almost 3,000 books on gallant, erotic and pornographic themes » that brought together French, English and German editions as well as Spanish and which was auctioned after the death of he.
Guereña also cites the lexicographical and encyclopedic works of an erotic nature carried out by the Nobel Prize winner Camilo José Cela, the “unbeatable collection” of the Swiss businessman Gérard Nordmann, the library of the Hungarian banker Tony Fekete, the funds of the London bookseller Carl Williams or the collections by Julio Mario Santo Domingo Braga, “a very rich Colombian heir, undoubtedly a bit boring despite his immense fortune, and a collector of transgressive themes.”