The Guardian

Psst, want to see some dirty books? Try the British Library | Kate Williams

A collection of erotica offers a saucy insight into the sexual pursuits and passions of our forebears
The British Library includes a user guide to the courtesans of 18th-century London. Photograph: Bildagentur-online/UIG via Getty Images

Last week, the British Library’s collection of obscene, sexually explicit and erotic novels and writing went online for the first time. Called the Private Case collection, these 2,500 texts, including fictional confessions of adventurous ladies, compendiums of London courtesans and erotic nun novels, have now been made available to registered scholars across the world. Cue social media jokes about library membership expanding.

In the days of researching my, a 17th-century bestseller in which a young, pretty novice joins a nunnery and… well, you can imagine.

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