Synopses & Reviews
To all intents and purposes, Henry Spencer Ashbee was a prosperous and respectable Victorian gentleman. But his well-upholstered chambers in Gray's Inn concealed a shocking secret: Ashbee's vast collection of erotica and pornography, thousands of volumes strong.
Acclaimed biographer Ian Gibson has created an engrossing portrait of Ashbee, a man who happily supported his unsuspecting wife and four children, but spent his spare time methodically cataloguing such risqueé titles as The Story of a Dildoe and The Marchioness's Amourous Pastimes.
With exclusive access to Ashbee's diaries and to his family's archives, Gibson has uncovered evidence that Ashbee may have been the author of the nototious My Secret Life the "true" autobiography of an unnamed Victorian gentleman who "enjoys many females, and narrates in the most painstaking manner their habits, customs and modes of sexual pleasure." In The Erotomaniac Ian Gibson explores Ashbee's own secret life. The result is a fascinating portrait of a Victorian who seems to typify his age in all its curiousity, repression and subverted desire.