Literary Pornography? Stella is curious.
What do you think is the difference between literary pornography and pornography? Bigger words in the former? Better words in the former? Can’t be that–some words are the same length and have the same importance no matter where or in what type of publication they’re written.
Yesterday I read a piece in a publishing magazine–a long, complimentary, even gushy article about a book that is (gasp) literary pornography. This offering has lots of pretty fabulously done illustrations. Pornographic illustrations. I will have to pick up the book because I always was a sucker for a good picture or two.
How many of you have read EXIT TO EDEN by Ann Rampling, alias, Ann Rice? In this lauded book, the founder of an exclusive resort dedicated to sexual fantasy (very cleverly called, The Club) develops a crack in her iron self esteem when she falls in love with a photojournalist employed as a slave at The Club. (Anything familiar here?) Before you rush out to buy your copy, I should tell you that this is literary pornography so you should be prepared for big, important words like, ass, breast, cock, cream, sweat, possibly even the odd taxing phrase (this is my own creation) such as, “Through the veil of demand, he dragged her and she went, gladly, into the reaching arms of a dozen writhing young male gods, all smiling, all erect, and all determined to be satisfied.”
Major warp to the middle-aged writer, pleasantly round with a sweet face (unfortunately covered with too much makeup at the moment) wearing a low-cut short, black satin dress, black fishnet hose, and possibly some sort of veil arrangement, the type with the spots that remind us of fuzzy beauty marks carried in little comfit boxes in the seventeen hundreds. The natural variety would be moles.
This nice, earnest, eager writer is trying to be sexy. She’s writing “Erotica” and has decided to leap to the middle of the fantasies and dress the part. Too bad they arrest you for running around naked–it would be so much simpler. This is a nice if naive woman. She probably enjoys what she writes and feels power and control when she’s working, but she won’t be written up anywhere as having produced a piece of literary pornography and she’s looking for a publicity angle–we’re all looking for publicity angles, just not always the one our lady author has chosen. But she’s having fun, feels special and may even have written some entertaining pornography.
The world of publishing magazines wouldn’t even consider remarking on one of this author’s books because they’re full of “kinky sex,” “gratuitous sex,” and they are “weak on plot, characterization and meaningful emotion.”
Yes, I’d croak before I put on a veil (except maybe on an opera hat) but I will defend the right of another writer to wear seven veils if she wants to. And I’ll stoutly announce that while one story of pornography/erotica (Why don’t we drop “erotica” which is meant to soften the idea of pornography? Be proud of whatever skill you practice.)–anyway, I’ll argue that there will always be different levels of brilliance in any art form, but an ass is an ass . . . isn’t it?
Question: Although I've already asked a number of questions. If some people didn't, deep down (or even not so deep down) think sex is bad, particularly sex that explores possibilities beyond missionary position, would the worlds of Hollywood, TV, Advertising, Fashion, The Internet, and so many other successful endeavors collapse?
And what word can we use to replace "sexy" now that it's come to mean anything from a fast car to a provocative debate on global warming?