Yvonne or the Adventures and Intrigues of a French Governess with her Pupils
London and Paris: N.p., 1898. First Edition. Although the title page claims the narrative to have been "translated from the French," OCLC lists Marie la Goule's "Yvette" as having been released in 1908, making it likely that this text is English in origin, with references to the French "original" being a promotional tactic on the part of the publisher.
As with the novel, the popularity of pornography boomed during the Victorian era, a result of rising literacy rates and increased disposable income. The sexual norms of the period largely prevailed, however, with objectification and subordination typical to the genre. Rape and abduction were common themes, and women were rarely depicted as consenting to erotic encounters—much less enjoying or pursuing sexual pleasure for their own means, outside of the context of sex work.
Unlike many of its contemporaries, "Yvonne" centers and empowers women, focusing on women's sexual pleasure and importantly, actually told from the perspective of two young women as they embark on a period of erotic self-discovery. Subverting the conventions of the genre, the story presents the two main characters as independent and curious, with prurient interests not merely for the sake of procreation, but for the pursuit of sexual satisfaction itself.
Interestingly, "Yvonne" also characterizes same-sex erotic experiences between women as being as desirable as heterosexual encounters for its main characters, with same-sex experimentation treated as a natural part of a young woman's sexual awakening. From masturbation to group sex, the novel is also unique in describing its characters' varied experiences in graphic detail, with candor and without embarrassment. Relevant sexual information was infrequently presented in a realistic manner in literature of this ilk, providing potentially valuable information for women and queer readers.
Near Fine in wrappers, with a few tiny splashes on the front wrapper.
Kearney, A History of Erotic Literature.
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