Les Onze Mille Verges (1907?) and L’Enfer de la Bibliothèque nationale (1913) by Guillaume Apollinaire

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Les Onze Mille Verges (1907?) and L’Enfer de la Bibliothèque nationale (1913) by Guillaume Apollinaire


[Apollinaire, Guillaume]. Les Onze Mille Verges, ou les Amours d'un hospodar, par G*** A***. Paris: En vente chez tous les libraires [Gaucher, 1907?]. Kinsey Institute Library: 843.8 A64 o5 1911

Apollinaire, Guillaume, Fernand Fleuret, and Louis Perceau. L’Enfer de la Bibliothèque nationale. Icono-bio-bilbiographie descriptive, critique et raisonnée, complète à ce jour de tous les ouvrages composant cette célèbre collection avec un index alphabétique des titres et noms d’auteurs. Paris: Mercure de France, 1913. Lilly Library: Z5867.P2 A6


The most famous pornographic novel by the French writer Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918), Les Onze Mille Verges [The Eleven Thousand Rods] recounts the shameless odyssey of the debauched aristocrat Mony Vibescu (the “Hospodar”) and his fellow rakes across the highways of Europe. Through the depiction of the unmanageable lust of the characters, the author explores the whole spectrum of human sexuality and depravity: sadism, masochism, vampirism, urophilia/undinism, scatophilia, bestiality, pedophilia (among others). The title “onze mille verges” is a nearly-homonymic pun on the Christian legend of the “onze mille vierges”—a group of holy virgins who accompanied Saint Ursula and became martyrs after being slaughtered and beheaded by the Huns. Indeed, in French, the word “verge” can refer either to a rod or to the male sexual organ. The volume exhibited here is the first edition of the novel clandestinely published in Paris by Elias Gaucher, probably in 1907. One of the most important French poets of the early twentieth century, Apollinaire was also a bibliographer who established, in collaboration with Fernand Fleuret (1883-1945) and Louis Perceau (1883-1942), the first comprehensive catalogue of L’Enfer de la Bibliothèque nationale (1913), that is the “private case collection” of the National Library of France, where are stored all the forbidden books not accessible to the general public. In this function, Apollinaire played a decisive role in the rediscovery of licentious books from past centuries, notably the works of Sade.

Full text of Les Onze Mille Verges: https://archive.org/stream/ApollinaireLesOnzeMilleVerges/Apollinaire%20-%20Les_onze_mille_verges_djvu.txt

Digitized copy of L’Enfer de la Bibliothèque nationale: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k1512281d


“Les Onze Mille Verges (1907?) and L’Enfer de la Bibliothèque nationale (1913) by Guillaume Apollinaire,” Banned Books, accessed July 13, 2024, https://bannedbooks.indiana.edu/items/show/15.

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