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Love's Jeweled Fetter (detail), by Lawrence Alam-Tadema [1895] (Public Domain Image)
Love's Jeweled Fetter (detail), by Lawrence Alam-Tadema [1895] (Public Domain Image)


by Pierre Louys


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On the heels of Bilitis, Pierre Louys published his first novel, Aphrodite (Mœurs Antiques) in 1896. It was a bestseller, selling 350,000 copies, sealing Louys' reputation as a popular author of erotic literature.

Set in Ptolemaic Alexandria, at a much later date than Bilitis, Aphrodite is as much a love story as a crime story. Louys' decadent, sensual vision of Egypt in classical times is a jeweled setting for a story of transgressive love. The sculptor Demetrios, the favorite of Queen Berenice, falls for a well-to-do courtesan, Chrysis. Much of the story is set in the world of the courtesans, a realm of beauty, luxury, sapphic indulgence, and some dark shadows as well.

PRODUCTION NOTES: There were at least three English translations of this work published prior to 1963; of these, this was the only one which had an expired copyright.

Title Page and Front Matter
Author's Preface

Book One

Chapter One. Chrysis
Chapter Two. On the Jetty
Chapter Three. Demetrios
Chapter Four. The Passer-by
Chapter Five. The Mirror, the Comb and the Necklace
Chapter Six. The Virgins
Chapter Seven. Chrysis’s Hair

Book Two

Chapter One. The Gardens of the Goddess
Chapter Two. Melitta
Chapter Three. Love and Death
Chapter Four. Moonlight
Chapter Five. The Invitation
Chapter Six. The Rose of Chrysis
Chapter Seven. The Enchanted Lyre

Book Three

Chapter One. The Arrival
Chapter Two. The Dinner
Chapter Three. Rhacotis
Chapter Four. Bacchanalia with Bacchis
Chapter Five. The Crucifixion
Chapter Six. Enthusiasm
Chapter Seven. Cleopatra

Book Four

Chapter One. The Dream of Demetrios
Chapter Two. Terror
Chapter Three. The Multitude
Chapter Four. The Response
Chapter Five. The Garden of Hermanubis
Chapter Six. The Walls of Crimson

Book Five

Chapter One. The Supreme Night
Chapter Two. The Dust Returns to the Earth
Chapter Three. Chrysis Immortal
Chapter Four. Pity
Chapter Five. Piety