How a flea beat out a fly in the race to erotic narration 125 years ago

Who hasn’t wished they could be a ‘fly on the wall’—nearly invisibly dropping in on a particularly juicy conversation or event? And what kind of event would be juicier than an erotic one?

So when I was thinking of how best to recount the goings-ons in the court of Catherine de Medici—the 16th century Queen of France who had a particular penchant for spanking—I took the opportunity to utilize this unique POV.

The Queen held a contest between the noblewomen and serving wenches as to whom among them could display “the most comely bottom.”  The prize was five gold pieces and the winner would have her asset spanked by the Queen. My intrepid fly reporter in Spank recounts all the astonishing details.

I thought I was being pretty innovative in my choice and felt fairly certain I was the first to use a 6-legged invertebrate to narrate an erotic excerpt. Imagine my surprise when I discovered The Autobiography of a Flea, an anonymously published erotic novel from 1887 (later revealed to have been written by a London lawyer named Stanislas de Rhodes).

The story, set in France, is narrated by a flea who tells the tale of a beautiful young girl named Bella whose burgeoning sexuality is taken advantage of by her young lover Charlie, the local priest Father Ambrose, two of his colleagues in holy orders and her own uncle.

Ah, if only my ‘fly on the wall’ could meet  de Rhode’s  ‘flea’. What tales they could tell!


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