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My Secret Life: An Erotic Diary of Victorian London
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My Secret Life: An Erotic Diary of Victorian London

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  232 ratings  ·  38 reviews
'My Secret Life' is perhaps the most infamous of all underground Victorian erotica. It is the sexual memoir of a well-to-do gentleman who began at an early age to keep a diary of his erotic behavior. He continues this record for over 40 years, creating in the process a unique social & psychological document.

Authorship of the book is mysterious. Henry Spencer Ashbee, a
Paperback, 576 pages
Published April 1st 1996 by Signet Classics (first published 1888)
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You will read few books as bizarre as this one. It's the multi-volume memoir of an anonymous "Victorian gentleman," recounting his prodigious sexual exploits with a bewildering variety of partners -- ranging from whores to little girls to young men to aristocratic ladies -- and the weird thing is, it's way too weird to be firmly shelved on the "Victorian Porn" shelf, a la "The Pearl." It's too compulsive, too fixated on inconsequential detail to be serving the principally utilitarian interests o ...more
Rob Bliss
My edition said it was written by Anonymous ... I guess give it a 100 years and you can come out of the closet.

I didn't like this for the sex. He has a lot of it, and its very repetitive. Then again, he writes about things that sexual education people would write about fifty or sixty years after him, so you could say he was ahead of his time.

Ahead of his time also in that he's not afraid of being gay or bi or ... anything really. He is incredibly liberated. Possibly too much. (But how Victoria
Laura E. Hall
This is one of the bawdiest books I've ever read, and if anyone ever tries to tell you the Victorians were uptight about sex, point them at this volume.

It offers an unparalleled glimpse into Victorian sexuality, from everything to social attitudes toward the female body (generally and unsurprisingly, they're there for male consumption), sexual awakening and exploration (not always consensual), relationships between the monied class and their domestics, prostitution (by choice and by chance), bi
Boy, is this really happening in the Victorian era? I remember so well reading Sense and Sensibility and waiting for the bloody kiss to happen...but noooo, you can't have that in a Victorian novel; while the reality was actually so bloody obscene :D!
So this novel was interesting first for putting into light the 'underground' sexual life of women and men in the very puritan Victorian-era and second, as a step in the erotica evolution: from Life of an Amorous Man(where explicit descriptions were c
Sort of hard to form an opinion of this book. On one hand it it is at first disturbing because the writer begins with recollections of being abused as a child and then moves on to his harassing, exploiting, raping, purchasing and seducing women. At times he seems almost delusional in his belief that every woman "wants it" so i suspect that some of what he believes are seductions are really not as consenting as he thinks. On the other hand, here is a rare insight into the sexual psychology of the ...more
Lee Rene
I can't really rate this book as an enjoyable read but My Secret Life is invaluable for anyone interested in Victoriana. The voluminous work details the exploits of a bounder who rarely looks for sexual partners from his own social class but instead rapes and pillages the vaginas and other orifaces of poor girls, maids, sailors and street prostitues with joyous abandon. My Secret Life is more 19th Century social history than erotica. Emotions are rarely involved, the sex often brutal, the author ...more
Jan 23, 2008 Ivy rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anatomists
I found this raunchy little number at a bookstore in Paris' Quartier Latin. If I remember correctly, it chronicles the many and various sexual exploits of a Victorian bachelor as he makes the rounds at all the posh resorts in Europe. It's graphic to the point of technical, and quickly gets tedious, although one quickie encounter with a sailor and a prostitute in a muddy alley stands out as particularly funny and original. I didn't finish the book, but sold it in Prague because it made me feel di ...more
I don't remember this book as erotic, nor is it really a confession: no regrets, no ethical or social concerns, or any other feeling. Kind of a pre-D.H.Lawrence without tenderness or respect for the other participant(s).
It includes scenes that would horrify today even more than then: sexual harassment of servants, rape, statutory rape, even pædophilia, and very little reference to shared pleasure.
The unabashed diary of a misogynist sociopathic sex addict, it is also a cautionary tale: if a moral
the first erotic book i read. this book was first published in the late 1800's. to my (not-so) young and (not-so) innocent mind the book was scandalous, shocking, frank and graphic (aka interesting read). at that time, reading 'My Secret Life' was my secret life. :) being brought up as a conservative roman catholic, i thought i was committing mortal sin and will go straight to hell when i die...but what the hell, I was already consumed by intrigue to stop. it may not be the best book i read, but ...more
One of the most bizarre books of erotica ever written, it seems to be less an account of any actual events than a stream-of-consciousness of episodic fantasies; perhaps the man sat down at his table every night and wrote himself a little something to wank to?

It's not good, in the traditional sense, but it is extremely revealing of Victorian erotica, psychology, class structure, and much more -- an interesting snapshot of what was "taboo" in those days, and the apparently unparalleled normalcy o
Margot Note
I could write oodles on this book. All I can say here is that it’s worth a read even though Walter’s exploits can be repetitive. Then, blammo, he tries something new to satisfy his curiosity/Foucauldian “will to knowledge.” To think that this was abridged from 11 journals worth of materials! P.S. Let’s bring back the term “gamahuching.”
Victorian fun from behind closed doors. The anonymous author doesn't flinch in details that would equal a good issue of Hustler and proves that sex doesn't change, only the clothes people undress. Whether fact, fiction, or both, as history and erotica this book is essential and once read will stay with you for life.
Not for the faint of heart, but a great look into the real Victorian England. Why do you think they were so prudish? Because people like this existed.....
If this was written today, Walter would have been a blogger!
I'm going to be honest: I didn't finish this book. I managed to read probably half of it before it got so boring I just had to stop. I think the big problem I had with this book was the fact that it is such a big book that just... keeps repeating itself - he has sex with a girl, then with another one, then with another one, then with whores and maids and more girls and married women and it's always. the same. shit. Besides that, this 'gentleman' annoyed the hell out of me several times along the ...more
Jo Ann
Sep 26, 2007 Jo Ann rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nancy

Very dirty. Author was actually 'Anonymous', however this program doesn't let you enter books without an author.

Banned for a 100 years for being too obscene and pornographic, this sex diary of a Victorian gentleman is considered an historic and erotic masterpiece.

First published in Amsterdam , the next hundred years, it remained banned and considered too racy to publish.

No-one really knows the true identity of "Walter". But biographer Ian Gibson cl
By "complete", I mean that I read about a third of it before getting fed up. Boring, repetitive, and unpleasant. The protagonist is an arrogant user of people who doesn't take any responsibility for his actions, nor suffer any consequences from them.

Let me take this bullet for everyone, and say don't bother with this one.
This is less erotica than an interesting account of gender and sexuality in the nineteenth century. Whether it is autobiographical or entirely fiction doesn't matter as much as the fact that one man thought his sexual exploits and the variety of encounters he depicts were of interest to the world in which he lived.
This book is truly unbelievable. It is bizarre, obscure, sometimes tiring and sometimes disgusting, but worth reading if you enjoy turn-of-the-century English and French literature, erotica, and books with rare/unusual provenance. I found my 1400-page copy at the Goodwill! More details to be added later.
I read this two-volume epic several years ago, & I was shocked not only by what was described, but also how well it was described.
I recommend it to anyone, excluding the prudish, impatient (the version I read was approxiamately 2500 pages), or the faint of heart.
Good Luck!
dirty, dirty, dirty. victorian smut at its best. supposedly true exploits of a victorian gentlemen as he seduces and pays every woman he comes in contact with. good companion with erotomania, the story behind the man they are pretty sure is the author of my secret life.
H. P. Reed
A well written memoir, boring in it's self-absorbtion, by an unlikable pederast.
Somewhat more perverse than DeSade, reasonably fascinating...
This edition is 576pp--- a mere fraction of the 11-volume original. Original sets of course now sell for the price of a good car, and going through all eleven volumes would make the reader as obsessive-compulsive as the anonymous author (was he really Henry Spenser Ashbee?). Nonetheless, a fabulous (if sometimes depressing) read--- though more for what it says about Victorian fantasies than for the sex itself. Of course, Steven Marcus' essay on "My Secret Life" in his "The Other Victorians" is a ...more
I understand that this is pretty much an unedited script that somebody wrote in 'Victorian Times' and though that does make it interesting, considering the time period, it is so dull. I have read a lot of erotica but this didn't have an inch of a storyline. It is just a mass of jumbled up stories about a man taking advantage of servants. I didn't get it finished because though at first it is intriguing and seems so naughty considering it's time period but it is so boring. The repetition of the p ...more
Геллее Авбакар
It was a very sexual diary of a Victorian gentleman who made some sexual adventures with his home maids with his proper teachers and How he discover this whole sexuality thing inside him, He could be considered as pervert since he gave sexual pleasure a big importance.
His diary was full of description of sexual object the human may encounter during adult hood, for me it was freak to keep a diary with such a disgusting details.
Read the first couple of pages and couldn't get into it..especially since it started out about his childhood sexual encounters. Felt perverted for even reading about that. Thought it would be an exciting read, but it wasn't easy to read or understand.
Jenny Schmenny
It's hard to know how to rate this book. On a certain level, it's repetitive tripe. On another level, it's a fascinatingly detailed memoir about sexual behaviors in Victorian times. On another level it's smut. Not very good smut, but still...
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Some Like It Hot!: My Secret Life 2 29 Sep 18, 2013 02:21AM  
Some Like It Hot!: My Secret Life 1 13 Sep 15, 2013 01:04AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Combine request 9 34 Oct 25, 2011 02:17PM  
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Henry Spencer Ashbee was a book collector, writer, and bibliographer, notorious for his massive, clandestine three volume bibliography of erotic literature written under the pseudonym of Pisanus Fraxi. He is also speculated to be the author of the erotic novel A Night in a Moorish Harem, written under the pseudonym of Lord George Herbert.

Ashbee was born in Southwark, London. He was by occupation a
More about Henry Spencer Ashbee...
My Secret Life 2 (Classic Erotica) My Secret Life 1 (Classic Erotica) My Secret Life 3 (Classic Erotica) My Secret Life 4 (Classic Erotica) My Secret Life 1-2: The Sex Diary of a Victorian Gentleman

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