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This book is a fascinating and in-depth look at Victorian lower class prostitutes and their upper class client base.

The anonymous author, a decidedly upper class gentleman apparently went through at least three fortunes which underwrote his obsessive need for paid sex, which lasted from his teenage until his death which seems to have occurred sometime in his 60s or perhaps a bit later. Internal clues are few, and some of what is thought to be known about him is based on the assumption that he was Henry Spencer Ashbee, a director of the Ashmolean museum and a writer on the fine arts. But the truth is we do not know who Anonymous really was. He takes the name Walter when he mentions himself, but often disguises the prosutitutes names as well, and also the names of the bordellos he favors. some of which are upscale and expensive. However his disguises are transparent and anybody with a little creativity can penetrate them.

What Walter did was something like what Casanova did before him, write an account of his amours. But unlike Casanova, Walter wrote only about his sexual life, ignoring absolutely everything else. And also unlike Casanova, who reconstructed his life from memory in his old age, Walter kept a daily journal, making his disclosures infinitely more immediate, circumstantial, and realistic. He quotes at great length his lewd dialogues with his whores of choice, often enough not whores at all--yet--but servant girls tempted by his offers of large sums of money to let him have a little poke.He particularly loved to get hold of virgins, but liked his women of all ages, nationalities, (he spoke several European languages) body types, dispositions, hair colors, length of pubic hair and even smells. He could be aroused sometimes by an odor that at other times would repulse him, plunge into sexually promising situations in the very roughest parts of town without thinking twice, pay what to us would seem outrageous prices when he was absolutely determined to have his way, and record it all in clear, simple prose, from a somewhat detached point of view, which made clear that he had little or no feeling for these women as human beings, but took the Victorian upper class view, that they were simply unfortunates, that his paying them was a great benefit to them for which they should be grateful, and that their welfare or happiness beyond that had nothing to do with him.

A modern writer, believed Walter suffered from satyriasis, the obsessive, compulsive need to have sexual intercourse.Indeed he had prodigious desires and sexual bouts, in which he would have repeated connections with one or more whores over as long as a three day period. And he could and did go spoony on a particular woman, and want only her for a week, a month or more, before getting his fill of her and moving on. He seemed to both love and hate the fact that whores lied as a matter of course, and fancied himself able to unmask their schemes and see through to what he imagined was the truth.

This is not a book of uncomplcated pornography, but rather a fascinating study of a very unusual man and a well fleshed out picture of the particular underclass, from 1850s to 1890s London, with whom he preferred to spend his entire life.

There are no other sexual autobiographies that are as long, as unselfconscious, as descriptive and thorough as this one. A completely unique and rewarding piece of sexual Victoriana.

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