Лорен Хендерсон: The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New Erotica

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Лорен Хендерсон The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New Erotica
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The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New Erotica: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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The very best of over ten years of the Best New Erotica series and other erotica titles compiled by Maxim Jakubowski. Stories have been taken from all volumes of The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica with the exception of recent volumes 8 and 9. They have also been drawn from the Mammoth Book of International Erotica, Mammoth Book of Historical Erotica, Mammoth Book of Erotica, Mammoth Book of New Erotica and Mammoth Book of Short Erotic Novels. The anthology is likely to include stories by Thomas S. Roche; Poppy Z. Brite; Alison Tyler; Lucy Taylor; Matt Thorne; M. Christian; Michael Hemmingson; Mike Kimera; Tara Alton; Marilyn Jaye-Lewis; Savannah Lee; Heather Corinna; Carol Queen; Donna George Storey; Lauren Henderson; Vicki Hendricks; O’Neil De Noux; Cara Bruce; Mark Timlin; Graham Joyce; Conrad Williams; Claude Lalumière; Kristina Lloyd; and Mitzi Szereto.

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Maxim Jakubowski




Maxim Jakubowski

Back in 1991 I approached Nick Robinson with a view to convince him to add a volume of erotica to the then fledgling but already successful Mammoth line. It took a couple of years of repeated insistence to overcome his initial resistance to the idea. If crime and mystery, science fiction and fantasy, thrillers, spy tales and horror were the obvious genres to include in the Mammoth list, I pleaded, why not erotica? A literary genre which was similarly looked down at by the establishment but had good commercial prospects and, I argued, a ready-made public and intrinsically had as much quality as other fields of popular writing, together with a prestigious heritage which had been in recent decades muddied by the more down-market and exploitative side of most publishers’ production.

Although he and his team were at first reluctant, they finally gave me the go ahead and The Mammoth Book of Erotica first appeared in 1994, with Carroll & Graf in the USA enthusiastically taking on the reins of the American edition. The book was a surprising success from the outset, going into several reprints and being taken up by a variety of book clubs. Having the field to myself, I was in the privileged situation of being able to select stories and extracts from some of my favourite contemporary writers who had not shied away from writing about sex in an explicit manner in their work. I included Clive Barker, Leonard Cohen, Anne Rice, Samuel R. Delany, Marco Vassi, Ramsey Campbell, Kathy Acker and many others. I wanted to validate my contention that erotica was not just sex scenes but could feature plot, solid characterization and emotions alongside the expected hydraulics. Sex was and always will be an integral part of the human make-up and I do strongly feel it is essentially dishonest to censor it out of our writings for the sake of propriety or social convenience. Further, I was of the opinion that we were going through a Golden Age of erotica that was as good as many of the classics from the 1930s or the 1950s, after which the field had seemingly taken a step back. The only problem was that it remained hidden within publishers’ general lists and was most often not highlighted as such. In all fairness this was not the case in France, for example, where major authors like Apollinaire, André Pieyre de Mandiargues, Aragon, Bernard Noël, Pierre Louys suffered no critical backlash for their outstanding erotic tales and had been succeeded by more modern practitioners like Alicia Reyes, Françoise Rey, Vanessa Duriès and others. Not surprisingly I had spent many years in France and my outlook had no doubt been influenced by this healthy state of affairs.

But in the English language, since the heyday of Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin, erotic writing had remained in the shadows, with the sole efforts of Brian Kirby’s Essex House imprint and authors like Marco Vassi, Michael Perkins and David Meltzer toiling with little critical feedback in a faraway forest, away from the throng.

By highlighting what had been happening for many years in one place, I hoped erotica would again be taken seriously.

It was.

It is now over a decade and a half later, and the Mammoth Erotica series has reached fifteen volumes. Robinson Publishing has now become Constable & Robinson, merging successfully with one of Britain’s most respected and oldest imprints, while in the USA, Carroll & Graf was integrated into the Perseus Group and the series now appears there under the Running Press imprint.

Last year we celebrated the tenth anniversary volume of the series, although technically it has actually featured fifteen volumes, as the first five (The Mammoth Book of Erotica, The Mammoth Book of New Erotica, The Mammoth Book of International Erotica, The Mammoth Book of Historical Erotica and The Mammoth Book of Short Erotic Novels) were not numbered. Sales are now into the hundreds of thousands worldwide and I believe erotica is now held in higher esteem in the world of letters and books as a result.

It is now, of course, a much more crowded area as success naturally attracts imitations. But, on the other hand, the added publishing opportunities have allowed new editors and dozens of writers to make a name for themselves in the field and new talent is emerging on a yearly basis, which personally delights me.

The only drawback, and this is very much a personal bee in the bonnet of mine, is that this profusion of erotica has also diluted the impact of the writing and too many of the new writers see the genre as an excuse for minor sexual fantasies or wish-fulfilment scenarios, which they affectionately treat jokingly as mere smut, with little of the psychological depth or naked emotions I, for one, expect in good writing. Both the plethora of publishing opportunities and the lack of quality control on the expanding internet scene and in self-published ebooks is much to blame for this sorry state of affairs.

But enough of criticism. This is a celebration of what is good about erotica.

The present volume features some of my favourite stories from our first thirteen volumes (the last two are still readily available in stores and online). When I made my initial selection, I ended up with a 1,200-page volume, which I then had to painfully shrink down to acceptable size, such was the embarrassment of choices available to me. I had to restrict myself to one story per author, even though some have contributed several outstanding stories to the series over the years; stories I absolutely adored could not be reprinted because they were just too long; writers who deserved to be here have been left out because of lack of space – the choices were heartbreaking.

At any rate, here are thirty wonderful tales of sex, life, hotness, passion, of erotica at its best.

If you have not been converted to the sensual and intellectual pleasures of our genre already, this is your chance.

Jump aboard.

Maxim Jakubowski April 2011

Chapters in a Past Life

Marilyn Jaye-Lewis

1. Anal

I knew a woman who had a virgin asshole until she was in her early thirties. I never understood that kind of woman, she’s not at all like me. I’d read about Last Tango in Paris in my mother’s Cosmo when I was only thirteen, for God’s sake – and the accompanying article, too, all about how to do it through the back door and, more importantly, why: because a Cosmo girl is an American girl and American girls love pressure.

I don’t know if it was related to that distant article or not, but I dropped out of college in a real hurry, after only about six weeks. Something about wanting to feel alive instead, and that’s how I ended up in New York; at the tail end of the disco era, pre-AIDS, a time when any self-respecting underpaid New York office worker drank heavily on his or her lunch hour and didn’t have to be choosy about who he or she wanted to fuck when the work day was over because eventually you fucked everybody. And there were so many exciting cross-purposes going on! For instance, drugs. Did you fuck somebody sheerly because s/he had the good drugs? Or did you use the good drugs as bait to get somebody to fuck you? Of course, if you hung in there long enough, the inevitable descent into hell finally occurred. That’s right, you remember it: you fell hopelessly in love with a completely insane person, a dangerously paranoid schizophrenic perhaps, but you were too fucked-up on the good drugs to even notice it. Maybe for a couple of years.

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