Fifty Shades of Grey, has become one of the most talked about erotic novels in history. All one has to do is click around Examiner to find a plethora of articles scrutinizing every single element of the EL James trilogy from the locations it takes place in, to the “equipment” used by the characters, to the casting of its much anticipated screen adaptation. In a questionable use of product placement, every television show from The Office to Jewish-American Princesses of Long Island have touted the benefits of using the book as an aide for solitary satisfaction.
Although a promotional masterwork, literary critics have been less than kind about the writing. The acclaimed writer and Muslim extremist bull's eye
Sir Salman Rushdie,
said the novel, “Makes Twilight look like War and Peace”.
Supposing a cultivated lass should wish to tread the primrose path of single handed dalliance with a book that has both bite and substance? With all the hype about Fifty Shades of Grey it is easy to forget that there have been many great works of literature that also have “Good parts”.
Here are just five examples of respected erotic fiction:
The Story of O: Anne Desclos published the tale of a beautiful French photographer's experiences as a love slave under the pen name of Pauline Réage. The heroine, whose name we never learn is taken to a hotel by her lover where she is pierced, sodomized and beaten by a group of men.
According to Wikipedia the novel is considered a metaphor for the objectification of women. It won the prestigious Prix des Deux Magots in 1955.
Fanny Hill: Originally published in 1748 the novel by John Cleland, deals with the miss adventures of an adolescent English prostitute. The book is written in the form of a series of letters from the hero to another woman in which she chronicles her experiences in graphic detail.
The novel has been banned all over the world ever since its publication and arrest have actually been made for its distribution.
Fear of Flying: Erica Jong’s ground breaking and controversial novel details the adventures of Isadora Wing, who cheats on her psychologist husband, by having an emotionless affair with another psychologist.
The novel was timely in its dealing with the women’s movement in the seventies and timeless in its use of metaphor for women’s fear of their own liberation and societies fear of female sexuality.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover: DH Lawrence’s 1928 novel about a wealthy woman’s affair with a poor working man is considered a classic of erotic literature. Lady Chatterley’s husband has been paralyzed from the waist down from an injury in combat. Reacting to her husband’s impotence and emotional coldness, she has an affair with the brutish, but agile gameskeeper, Oliver.
It is considered a respected work of literature due to its illustration of the relationship between the mind and the body and it’s condemnation of England’s classist society.
The Tropic of Cancer: Henry Miller’s gritty and uncompromising semi autobiography deals with his life as an American expatriate in1920s and 30’s Paris.
The book contains graphic descriptions of sex, illness and poverty told in Miller’s often crude and emotionless style. It was the subject of several obscenity trials in the United States.
It is considered a major work of American literature as it uses plain often crude language in a way that is haunting and meaningful. It was considered a must read by such writers George Orwell and literary critic Edmond Wilson.