Personal Reflection: In memoriam, Carl Degler

I thought I’d end the year by starting at the beginning, and by doing so, I have to start with the end of a life. Carl Degler, professor emeritus of American history at Stanford University, died on Saturday, December 27, 2014, at the age of 93. It was an article by Degler that was influential on my embarking upon a career writing Victorian erotic romance. Continue reading

Victorian Sex: My Secret Life (Part 2)

Who was Walter?

In order to answer this question, we need to establish if there is indeed a question here to answer.

Uh, what?

Well, is My Secret Life an autobiography or a work of fiction? If it is a work of fiction, then trying to ascertain who Walter was is moot. If it is autobiographical, then someone (or perhaps several someones) wrote it, and, the question then becomes, who? Continue reading

Victorian Sex: My Secret Life (Part 1)

This post is not about my secret life, it’s about the infamous tome published c. 1890, authored by a man known only as Walter. The book, My Secret Life, was written as a memoir and is often considered a work of Victorian erotica, which it most certainly is not. It is unabashedly an impressive work of pornography. Unlike a more famous erotic memoir, John Cleland‘s Fanny Hill which has a plot and a resolution (actually a happy ending), My Secret Life is more a series of vignettes. It does have the elements of fiction: There are running characters; there is development of Walter’s psyche; there is a progression of time. But it lacks any plot. Weighing in between 790 and 1173 pages (depending on the version; this one is cited), My Secret Life is the epitome of the rambling sexual memoir, a prime example of that particular style of Victorian porn. Continue reading