Friday, October 14, 2011

An Outline of Sexual History

The English writer David Lodge has written in a novel about H.G. Wells called A Man of Parts. Lodge wouldn’t have been true to his subject if he hadn’t painted the famed author as bedding everything in sight. Apparently Wells had the kind of charismatic intellect that made women forget any of that famed piece of psychobabblese known as boundaries, but Wells certainly didn’t stand alone. Cross the channel almost a century earlier and you’d find Hugo and cross it a few decades later and you’d find Georges Simenon, the human bunny. Bertrand Russell was man of peace, but he also was a swordsman. It’s always refreshing to know there are people like Wilt Chamberlain who reputedly slept with  l0,000 women and Catherine the Great who, according to myth, was a great stud in reverse and whose doomed relationship with a horse was harbinger of the partitioning of Berlin during the cold war. Sexual appetite when it reaches these gargantuan proportions has something in common with extreme Genius (Shakespeare) and Evil (Hitler). There is something almost spiritual about it that represents the departure of the soul from the body to the extent that the body begins to function soullessly and without the burdens of conscience. There are great talents like Chaucer, Rabelais and Henry Miller who have undertaken to imagine extraordinary feats of sexual prowess. However it’s one thing to write a dirty poem like Catullus and another to be Caligula himself.  The interesting thing about Wells was that he was of modest birth and had none of the entitlement that characterized the great dandies of the Edwardian period. The fact that he lacked the Sadian noblesse oblige makes him one impressive Lothario.

1 comment:

  1. Merci Francis,
    Quel souffle! Quelle "anima"!
    Luc Macé-Malaurie


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