So says Billy, reading for sun and fun reading. 🙂
Well, it is summer. And the living is easy? Not for those with kids out of school, but never mind, I’m here to entertain you with the naughty bits.
(How is your summer going? Doing anything interesting?)
A book came into my hands called Napoleon’s Privates: 2500 Years of History Unzipped. It’s by Tony Perrottet. I assume we’re supposed to sound that last T, but it’s not clear. The book’s website is here.
Anyway, it’s a zippy read, not to say racy, and has some details that I didn’t know. Why does that surprise me? Somehow, when researching romance, we stumble over the naughty bits a lot.
Not literally, she says, thinking of Napoleon’s particularly private bit, which was apparently cut off during his autopsy and could be, well, anywhere.
Even the introduction intrigued when talking about the things stored in the Secret Cabinets of great libraries and museums. The thing most people weren’t supposed to see. It mentions erotic devices found in medieval abbeys. I don’t know of any. Tell me more! (Anyone here know?) Also "wicked relics from Georgian S&M clubs."
Mind you, I haven’t finished the book yet. It’s been a busy time around here what with moving, settling, taking a trip to the Okanagan to speak to school students, who were wonderful. The picture is, believe it or not, of snow we encountered en route to Penticton, in July. It was hot in Vancouver and hot in Penticton. It hit 38 C the day we left. But in the mountain pass it was Christmas. There wasn’t a safe place to stop, so I had to try to catch it through the windows. Trust me, the evergreens were prettily dusted white.
I’m also and trying to get to the
end of the first draft of The Secret Wedding before RWA in San Francisco, (cover on the left, but not out till next April.) and the other RWA in Melbourne, Australia. Not to mention Ottawa in late September. So I’ve only been dipping into Napoleon’s Privates.
Er…. I didn’t quite mean that!!!!!!!!!!!
I’ve already found things I didn’t know. Castrati, apparently, only had a vasectomy. Done well before puberty this stopped development entirely. Done a bit too late it resulted in a man with all the equipment working, but no sperm. No wonder they were so very, very popular with the ladies!
And though I knew about the impotence trials in France in the 16th and 17th centuries (they’d be a real hit on Court TV, wouldn’t they?) I didn’t know there was an appeal system, where the couple had to try to have sex, closely observed by a variety of witnesses. As most of the people bringing these cases in the first place were high born wives trying to get out of a marriage, this must have been a particularly "interesting" situation to end up in. Talk about conflict!
But as commentators of the time pointed out, most men would have some difficulty in that situation. But not your average romance hero, no way.
With popular history I always take the information with caution, but what I’ve read sounds okay to me. Anyone spot a problem? With that proviso I heartily recommend this book for a fast, easy style and some fascinating tidbits of information.
Jo. signing off with a bit of BC scenery. 🙂