WALTER. My Secret Life.
(Amsterdam): Privately Printed for Subscribers, 1888. Clandestine printing. Paperbacks. Eleven volumes. A scarce complete set of this erotic work the authorship of which is one of the oldest mysteries in book publishing – and also one of the most disreputable. The anonymous authorship of My Secret Life, a Victorian pornographic epic which outstrips Casanova with its exhaustive detailing of sexual pleasures, has puzzled historians since it first appeared in the late nineteenth century. The real identity of the wealthy diarist, who called himself ‘Walter’ and claimed to have slept with 1,200 working-class women over 40 years, has eluded detection. Banned for numerous years, for being ‘utterly and totally obscene’, the book is now increasingly regarded as a unique source of information about social conditions and morality in nineteenth-century England. The edition here probably originates from the 1950s or 60s. All volumes generally in good condition in printed wrappers. Some staining to the spine of volume 3, small tear to front cover of volume 3 and volume 9, volume 11 with surface scratch, other volumes with general wear. Scarce as a complete set.