About the Author:
"Pierre Louÿs (December 10, 1870 - June 6, 1925) was a French poet and Romantic writer, most renowned for lesbian and classical themes in some of his writings. He is known as a writer who expressed pagan sensuality with stylistic perfection. Pierre Louÿs was born Pierre Louis on December 10, 1870 in Ghent, Belgium, but moved to France where he would spend the rest of his life. He studied at the Ecole Alsacienne in Paris, and there he developed a close friendship with a future Nobel Prize winner and champion of homosexual rights, André Gide. In the 1890s, he became a friend of the noted English dramatist and homosexual, Oscar Wilde. Although heterosexual, Louys enjoyed entree into homosexual circles.
Louÿs started writing his first erotic texts at the age of 18, at which point he developed an interest in the Parnassian and Symbolist schools of writing.
In 1891, Louÿs helped found a literary review, La Conque, where he proceeded to publish Astarte- an early collection of erotic verse already marked by his distinctive elegance and refinement of style. He followed up in 1894 with another erotic collection in 143 prose poems- Songs of Bilitis (Les Chansons de Bilitis), this time with strong lesbian themes. In 1955, one of the first lesbian organizations in America called itself Daughters of Bilitis, and to this day Louÿs' Songs continues to be an important work for lesbians.
In 1896, Louÿs published his first novel, Aphrodite- Ancient Manners (Aphrodite (mœurs antiques)), a depiction of courtesan life in Alexandria. It is considered a mixture of both literary excess and refinement, and, numbering at 350,000 copies, was the best selling work by any living French author in his day.
Louÿs went on to publish Les Aventures du roi Pausole (The Adventures of King Pausole) in 1901, Pervigilium Mortis in 1916, both of them libertine compositions, and Manuel de Civilité (Manual of Etiquette) in 1917, a parody whose obscenity is almost unparalleled even in the long history of French clandestine publishing.
Even while on his deathbed, Pierre Louÿs continued to write delicately obscene verses." (Quote from wikipedia.org)
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