Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Delights of Anna by John Colleton.
This eleventh installment of the 14-book “John Colleton” series of erotic pseudo-memoirs has for its settings Charleston, Madrid, and Rome. I’ve previously read only the second and the seventh books, which made the early chapters of this one a little bewildering for me. They do take for granted a fair amount of prior character relationships, and narrator Beuaregard “Bill” Benton seems disinclined to supply context rather than witticisms. He does occasionally fill in details retrospectively–often with block text that looks like it might be quoting earlier books.
This short book is not psychologically profound, nor morally responsible. In The Pleasures of Cloris, Bill had already shown a lack of confidence in his abilities as a writer, and that note is sustained here, nine books later. In addition, he declares, “As must be evident by now, I am not comfortable with myself. I am bothered always by conflicting loyalties, mixed emotions, mixed emissions” (127). I can’t say that I judge his adventures admirable, but I do find them entertaining.
Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Pleasures of Cloris by John Colleton.
The Italian geography of this debauched little novel isn’t the only thing that reminded me of Casanova’s memoirs, but our protagonist Bill is the patient rather than the agent of this book’s principal seductions. Only in the surprisingly plot-loaded finale does he take significant initiative (quietly, even so); otherwise, Cloris leads the dances.
Erotic cinematography is a chief cultural concern of the book. There are some curious allusions to esotericism, such as a quick pair of references to Pico and Plethon (128, 130), and Lord Cholmondeley’s duties with the Knights of Malta.
The quasi-autobiographical tenor of the book involves a lot of authorial introspection. Bill often mentions his anxiety that he wasn’t writing about his adventures, or observing them astutely enough to write about them later. But the novel is full of dry wit along with the wet sex, and the pacing is both relaxed and inviting, even with troubles shadowing the main characters. [via]