Why is pleasure "doubled" when it's "shared"? ... Do you really have to cut pleasure in two so that it'll exist? I mean, if it's doubled when there are two of you, then it must be tripled when there are three, quadrupled when there are four, centupled when there are a hundred, right? Is it O.K. for a hundred to share? And if I get used to trying it all alone, why is it that I'll never love anyone again? Is it that good alone and that awful with others?
—from Good Sex Illustrated
First published in France in 1973, Good Sex Illustrated gleefully deciphers the subtext of a popular sex education manual for children produced during that period. In so doing, Duvert mounts a scabrous and scathing critique of how deftly the "sex-positive" ethos was harnessed to promote the ideal of the nuclear family. Like Michel Houllebecq, Duvert is highly attuned to all the hypocrisies of late twentieth century western "sexual liberation" mass movements. As Bruce Benderson notes in his introduction, Good Sex Illustrated shows that, "in our sexual order, orgasm follows the patterns of any other kind of capital ... 'good sex' is a voracious profit machine." But unlike Houllebecq, Duvert writes from a passionate belief in the integrity of unpoliced sex and of pleasure. Even more controversially now than when the book was first published, Duvert asserts the child's right to his or her own playful, unproductive sexuality. Bruce Benderson's translation will belatedly introduce English-speaking audiences to the most infamous gay French writer since Jean Gênet.
About the Author
Tony Duvert (1945–2008) is the author of fourteen books of fiction and nonfiction. His fifth novel, Paysage de fantaisie (Strange Landscape), won the prestigious Prix Médicis in 1973. Other books translated into English include the novel When Jonathan Died, and the scathing critique of sex and society Good Sex Illustrated (Semiotext(e), 2007).
"A writer criminally undertranslated and consequently barely known in the primarily English-speaking areas of the world.... Duvert is one of the more significant and idiosyncratic contemporary French fiction writers. He's also one of the most mysterious."