The Pearl

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The Pearl, A Magazine of Facetiae and Voluptuous Reading was an English pornographic magazine in the Victorian era. It was published in London and Paris on a monthly basis from July 1879 to December 1880 and reached 18 issues before it was closed down by the authorities for being obscene literature. The magazine's publisher was William Lazenby in London, who also published other erotic magazines and books (e.g. The Birchen Bouquet) and wrote some of the contents. The title page of each volume bears the inscription: "Printed for the Society of Vice".

The general format of the magazine was to publish three serial erotic tales simultaneously, devoted to sex in high society, incest and flagellation, respectively, interspersed with obscene parodies, poems and limericks. Some of the poems are thought to have been written by Algernon Charles Swinburne. Volume 3, for example, features Swinburne's poem Charlie Collingwood's Flogging, under the pen name Etoniensis.

Titles of some of the stories include Lady Pokingham or They All Do It, Sally's Mistake, The Marriage Morn, The Sultan's Reverie which is an extract from The Pleasures of Cruelty, and Miss Coote's Confession, most likely by the same Rosa Coote who wrote The Convent School, or Early Experiences of A Young Flagellant.

The spanking/flagellation stories in The Pearl give insight into the role this genre had in Victorian erotica and reveals that beneath the facade of respectability and sexual repression there existed the strongest urge for sexual experimentation and enjoyment.


The collected stories from The Pearl have been published several times in book form. The Pearl: A Journal of Voluptuous Reading by Rosa Belinda Coote, Lady Pokingham, Rose d'Amour, and Harriet Keene was issued as a Grove Press paperback in 1968. More recently, The Pearl was reprinted by the Book-of-the-Month Club (New York: 1996) and a 643-page paperback edition by Ballantine Books (1996), ISBN 0345410041.

There is also a digital Amazon Kindle edition, The Pearl (The Complete Collection). This is an e-book published in 2010 by Oak Grove that is sold by Amazon Digital Services on the website. Wikisource also has the complete text of The Pearl online for free (see link below).

Miss Coote's Confession: or the Voluptuous Experiences of an Old Maid by Anonymous, was published in 2009 by Olympia Press (ISBN-10: 1596540397). These writings are from the Letters to a Lady Friend series that first appeared in The Peal. A similar compilation, Bride of the Birch: The Rosa Coote Letters, was printed in 2003 by AKS Books.

See also[edit]


  • The Pearl (full text, no images) on Wikisource  Warning: 18+
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