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Book Review: Curious Pleasures: A Gentleman’s Collection of Beastliness

Note all articles are independently researched and written by myself. However, if you buy via one of the links it may be an affiliate and I may earn a small commission.

As far as retro goes, you don’t get more retro than a book written by a Victorian scholar called the Reverend Dr Erasmus St Jude Croom. His Curious Pleasures: A Gentleman’s Collection of Beastliness was, in its day, one of the most shocking books around.

The best libraries in Victorian Britain kept this filthy tome under lock and key and only let doctors and professors look into the lewd and depraved tales. Apparently, the book was so shocking that if any woman was to glance through its pages, they would faint. It is now in print for the first time since 1901… so what is it like in modern hands?

Well, Curious Tales hasn’t lost its curiosity value and in fact, provides a saucy but gentle read. Of course, in a world that has full nudity in commercials for shampoo, this won’t be sending any ladies reeling.

That said, it does contain some incredibly unusual sexual quirks observed by Erasmus. In one passage, you can read about Apiolagnia which is "The use of bees for erotic stimulation… a most curious practice… which provides an excellent illustration of the ingenuity which the lewd employ in order to satisfy their desires."

This book will appeal to those who enjoy literature from the fringes and maybe, is ideal for anyone who digs all things Burlesque. It’s racy, it’s occasionally hilarious and altogether great fun. Not only that, the illustrations are worth your entrance fee alone…

You can pick it up now in hardback from Amazon for just under £8.

Find out more about the book at

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