Mighty Lewd Books provides a radical new approach to the study of sexuality in an in-depth investigation of the development of pornography. Through the examination of more than 500 pieces of British erotica, it looks at sex as seen in culture, religion and medicine throughout the long eighteenth-century.A new form of flagellation pornography burst to the fore in the 1770s when erotic fiction became littered with whipping scenarios. Prior to this, English erotica had included a particular style of bawdy material marked by euphemisms and double entendres.Erotic poems, salacious prints and obscene satires were sold in London coffee-shops, in taverns, on street corners and in various book shops along the Strand and in Covent Garden. The underworld of booksellers and distributors are explored through trial records and witness depositions.This book also explores popular images in erotica; femal flagellants whipping their submissive charges; depraved monks corrupting innocent nuns; libertine rascals seducing young virgins; and rakes carousing with their whores.Using the evidence of erotica, and taking a feminist approach within a framework of gender history, this book challenges the traditional view that women were generally seen as sexually passive.

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