Victorian pornographic works were shaped by contests between censorship and transgression. These contests informed the strategies adopted by authors of pornographic works, and generated unusual authorial identities and intentions. Henry Spencer Ashbee is just one example, producing a three-volume bibliography of pornographic works that is a much a testament to one man’s conflict over his source material as it is a record of it. Authorship fragments externally as well as internally, as we see in the case of Teleny. This pornographic novel, supposedly authored in round-robin style through the auspices of a French bookshop, distributes the “guilt” of authorship while performing subversive queer authorship. Through these examples and more, we explore the historical circumstances that shaped authorial personality, intentions, and practices in Victorian pornography.
In his introduction to his bibliographies, Henry Spencer Ashbee propagates an Anglocentric view by Othering foreign countries based on their sexual practices, and to some extent “Others” the English. This critical analysis addresses the possibility of “positive” Othering.
Henry Spencer Asbee takes national rivalry to another level. In the course of documenting a French/Italian erotic work, Ashbee, an Englishman, manages to demonize both France and Italy, as well as Sade in particular, as purveyors of unadulterated Sodomy.
The introduction to Henry Ashbee’s bibliography, *Index Librorum Prohibitorum*, lays out a series of expectations and goals that the bibliography itself fails to meet. This artifact explores what Ashbee sets out to accomplish, as well as the ways these expectations morph and change within the bibliographic entries.
-E. L. Huxley
The author of *Teleny* remains anonymous, despite many critics trying to prove its origin. This artifact discusses the possibilities of Teleny’s queer collaborative authorship and questions the motivation for naming Oscar Wilde as its author.
There are several different choices in phrasing in the English and French editions of *The Romance of Violette.* This artifact examines what the differences in the same passage illustrate about their respective cultures.
Discussed is authorship of the porn magazine, *The Pearl.* We see Lazenby and his various aliases and the potential reasoning behind them.