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My Secret Life, Complete, Volumes 1-11
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Pages (PDF): 2,201
Publication Date: 1888
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With over 2,000 pages, this is the complete 11 Volumes of this extremely explicit set of memoirs. My Secret Life, is the memoir of a Victorian gentleman's sexual development and experiences. It was first published in a private edition of eleven volumes, which appeared over seven years beginning around 1888. The text is repetitive and highly disorganised, but its frank discussion of sexual matters and other hidden aspects of Victorian life make it a rare and valuable social document. It has been described as "one of the strangest and most obsessive books ever written".
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In 18** my oldest friend died. We had been at school and college together; and our intimacy had never been broken. I was trustee for his wife and executor at his death. He died of a lingering illness, during which his hopes of living were alternately raised, and depressed. Two years before he died, he gave me a huge parcel carefully tied up and sealed. 'Take care of but don't open this,' he said; "if I get better, return it to me, if I die, let no mortal eye but yours see it, and burn it."
His widow died a year after him. I had well nigh forgotten this packet, which I had had full three years, when, looking for some title deeds. I came across it, and opened it, as it was my duty to do. Its contents astonished me. The more I read it, the more marvellous it seemed. I pondered long on the meaning of his instructions when he gave it to me, and kept the manuscript same years, hesitating what to do with it.
At length I came to the conclusion, knowing his idiosyncrasy well, that his fear was only lest any one should know who the writer was; and feeling that it would be sinful to destroy such a history. I copied the manuscript and destroyed the original. He died relationless. No one now can trace the author; no names are mentioned in the book, though they were given freely in the margin of his manuscript, and I alone know to whom the initials refer. If I have done harm in printing it, I have done none to him, have indeed only carried out his evident intention, and given to a few a secret history, which bears the impress of truth on every page, a contribution to psychology.
I began these memoirs when about twenty-five years old, having from youth kept a diary of some sort, which perhaps from habit made me think of recording my inner and secret life. When I began it, had scarcely read a baudy book, none of which, excepting Fanny Hill, appeared to me to be truthful: that did, and it does so still; the others telling of recherche eroticisms or of inordinate copulative powers, of the strange twists, tricks, and fancies of matured voluptuousness and philosophical lewdness, seemed to my comparative ignorance as baudy imaginings or lying inventions, not worthy of belief; although I now know, by experience, that they may be true enough, however eccentric and improbable, they may appear to the uninitiated.
Fanny Hills was a woman's experience. Written perhaps by a woman, where was a maids written with equal truth? That book has no baudy word in it; but baudy acts need the baudy ejaculations; the erotic, full flavored expressions, which even the chastest indulge in when hut, or love, is in its full tide of performance. So I determined to write my private life freely as to fact, and in the spirit of the lustful acts done by me, or witnessed; it is written therefore with absolute truth and without any regard whatever for what the world calls decency. Decency and voluptuousness in its fullest acceptance cannot exist together, one would kill the other, the poetry of copulation I have only experienced with a few women, which however neither prevented them nor me from calling a spade a spade.
I began it for my amusement; when many years had been chronicled I tired of it and ceased. Some ten years afterwards I met a woman, with whom, or with those she helped me to, I did, said, saw, and heard well nigh everything a man and woman could do with their genitals, and began to narrate those events, when quite fresh in my memory, a great variety of incidents extending over four years or more. Then I lost sight of her, and my amorous amusements for a while were simpler, but that part of my history was complete.
After a little while, I set to work to describe the events of the Intervening year's of my youth and early middle age, which included most of my gallant intrigues and adventures of a frisky order, but not the more lascivious ones of later years. Then a mess caused me to think seriously of burning the whole. But not liking to destroy my labor, I laid it aside again for a couple of years. Then another illness gave me long uninterrupted leisure; I read my manuscript and filled in some occurrences which I had forgotten but which my diary enabled me to place in their proper order. This will account for the difference in style in places, which I now observe; and a very needless repetition of voluptuous descriptions, which I had forgotten and had been before described; that however is inevitable, for human copulation, vary the incidents leading up to it as you may, is, and must be, at all times much the same affair.
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