Title: Aphrodite (Ancient Manners)
Author: Pierre Louÿs, William L. Parker (trans), Frank J. Buttera (illus)
Publisher: De Luxe Editions, 1932.
Condition: Hardcover, no dust jacket. Overall very good Note that the actual book is slightly different from the one in the photo, but the same edition and content. Cover of the book on hand bright blue and beige.
About the book (from Sacred-texts.com):
Pierre Louys published his first novel, Aphrodite (Mœurs Antiques) in 1896. It was a bestseller, selling 350,000 copies, sealing Louys’ reputation as a popular author of erotic literature. The book caused a scandal, and reviewer Dorothy Parker noted how difficult it was to obtain in New York, and that a play by George Hazelton based on the book was likewise successful because it was denounced as obscene by the mayor.
Set in Ptolemaic Alexandria, at a much later date than Bilitis, Aphrodite is as much a love story as a crime story. Louys’ decadent, sensual vision of Egypt in classical times is a jeweled setting for a story of transgressive love. The sculptor Demetrios, the favorite of Queen Berenice, falls for a well-to-do courtesan, Chrysis. Much of the story is set in the world of the courtesans, a realm of beauty, luxury, sapphic indulgence, and some dark shadows as well.
About the author (from Wikipedia):
Pierre Louÿs (10 December 1870 – 6 June 1925) was a French poet and writer, most renowned for lesbian and classical themes in some of his writings. He is known as a writer who sought to “express pagan sensuality with stylistic perfection.” He was made first a Chevalier and then an Officer of the Légion d’honneur for his contributions to French literature.
Pierre Louÿs was born Pierre Félix Louis on 10 December 1870 in Ghent, Belgium, but moved to France where he would spend the rest of his life. He studied at the École Alsacienne in Paris, and there he developed a close friendship with a future Nobel Prize winner and champion of homosexual rights, André Gide. From 1890 onwards, he began spelling his name as “Louÿs”, and pronouncing the final S, as a way of expressing his fondness for classical Greek culture. In the 1890s, he became a friend of the noted Irish dramatist Oscar Wilde, and was the dedicatee of Wilde’s Salomé in its original (French) edition. Louÿs enjoyed entree into homosexual circles. Louÿs started writing his first erotic texts at the age of 18, at which point he developed an interest in the Parnassian and Symbolist schools of writing.
Even while on his deathbed, Pierre Louÿs continued to write delicately obscene verses.