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Manuscript dictionary of erotica,
by the author of the 1678 "De prostibulis veterum"

[BEVERLAND, Adrianus].
Venus spinthria, seu libidinis in foemina, quae per omnia corporis cava molitur connexae descriptio.
[Leiden, ca. 1678]. Small 8vo (16.5 x 10.5 cm). Manuscript in Latin, written in a neat upright Latin cursive hand in brown ink on paper, with a decorated preliminary manuscript page containing the invocation of Venus from the 4th of Horace's 6 odes, and an engraving of Venus with Cupid from Hendrick Goltzius's 1597 print series of the planets. Loose leaves, never sewn or bound.
€ 7,850
A ca. 1678 Latin manuscript dictionary of erotica, written by "A.B.Z.", meaning Adrianus Beverland (1650-1716) of Zeeland, a student at Leiden University and author of the infamous 1678 scholarly study of prostitution in classical antiquity and related subjects, De prostibulis veterum. He published only a small piece of his manuscript in that year, a treatise on the sexual nature of original sin, but it was enough to cause a scandal. Instead of publishing an expurgated second edition as the authorities had hoped, he published a revised edition in 1679 that made more frequent reference to his unpublished manuscript. It also became clear that he still intended to publish his full manuscript. On 26 October 1679 he was therefore arrested. His erudition was unquestioned and his many influential friends tried to help him out of trouble. He was expelled from the University, fined, banished from Holland and forced to turn over his manuscript to the University authorities. In fact he turned over only the first of its three "libri", which finally came to rest in the University Library in 1701, and he even copied that before turning it over. In 1689 Beverland burned the three libri of his manuscript, so that ironically only the first liber that he turned over to the authorities has survived.
The present dictionary appears to be raw material that he gathered and organized while producing his manuscript. Since Beverland burned most of his manuscript for De prostibulis veterum, the present dictionary forms an essential primary source for some of his lost work. It is arranged alphabetically by subject, with some entries comprising only a few lines and others taking up several pages. It has entries under headings such as Coitus (with 27 numbered points plus a 28th left blank), Priapeia (with 8 points, lettered in Greek), Priapus (also with 8 points, lettered in Greek), Sodomia, Obscoenitas, etc.
The preliminary leaf and the leaves at the end are slightly discoloured (and one cut down), and 2 cm of the head margin of the leaf with the drop-title has been cut off, but the leaves are otherwise in very good condition.
Cf. R. de Smet, “The realm of Venus ...”, Quaerendo XVII (1987), pp. 45-59.
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Autographs, documents & manuscripts  >  Manuscripts & Documents
Literature & linguistics  >  Literature & Linguistics