The language of love can be beautiful or bawdy, naively simple or boldly salacious, elegantly baroque or course and common, in certain moments, a wild mixture of all of these. Louis Untermeyer has gathered the world's greatest erotica in verse, ranging from the Bible to the present day.The most renowned poets of all time are represented in this fresh collection where freedom of range is matched by an equal freedom of speech in writing about sexual love. From Ovid to Swinburne, from Chaucer to e.e. cummings, from Queen Elizabeth to Emily Dickinson, the poetry burns with mounting emotion and smolders with importunate pleadings, aggravating delays, passionate fulfillment or, alas, painful frustration.Here are the unexplored extremes encompassed by well-loved poets, the outspoken sensuality in the union of love and lust, and the earthy celebration of carnal pleasure. Here, in more than six hundred poems, are the infinite variations in the traditional battle of the sexes: the gallant approach, the tentative flirtation, the provocative badinage, the coy denial, the gradually permitted intimacy, the timid or breathless consent, and the finally shared extremity of passion.
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July 19, 2000
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