London: Quartet Books, 1983. 1st Edition. Octavo, publisher's black cloth, spine gilt, original illustrated dust jacket.
“The pleasure of an erotic text is a double one: not just in the evocation of sexual experience, but in the form of that evocation, the framing, the contexting, and the detail of the presentation.” Birkett’s translations of 23 erotic stories. Through her introductions for each extract, Birkett aims to strip erotica of its taboos in order to contextualize the genre in the shifting social understandings of what is deemed “sexy” over time. From the satirical and bawdy nature of Renaissance writer François Rabelais’s work to the more abstract and philosophical writing of Symbolist author Remy de Gourmont, The Body and the Dream paints a sweeping picture of the trajectory of French erotic fiction and popularity. Accompanied by an introductory essay written by Birkett herself, this collection of short stories dares its reader to think about sex as more than just a physical experience. Sticker residue to front pastedown, light rubbing to edges of unclipped dust jacket. Near fine. Item #3551