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18th century poetry porn

A racy new finding in the back of an 18th century collection of poetry may explain why the book was so popular, being reprinted over 20 times.

It is the first time the connection between the popularity of this bestselling poetic miscellany and the erotic verses in ‘The Cabinet of Love’ has been made, indicating that high art – canonical poetry – and low art were packaged together.

Dr van Hensbergen of the English Faculty, who made the discovery, describes ‘The Cabinet’ as “a collection of pornographic verse about dildos”. The poems include ‘Dildoides’, a poem attributed to Samuel Butler about the public burning of French-imported dildos, and ‘The Discovery’, a poem about a man hiding in a woman’s room to watch her in bed. It is accompanied by an engraving that was reprinted throughout the century.

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Story: The Telegraph | Photo: Bodleian Libraries

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