The Company He Keeps: Victorian Gentlemen’s Erotica – Dale Chase (Bold Strokes Books)

Buy it now direct from Bold Strokes Books or at our store – The Company He Keeps: Victorian Gentlemen’s Erotica

I’ll admit to being a sucker for Victorian literature.
There’s something wonderfully adult (and I don’t mean in an XXX way) about the
language and sentence structure. It’s all about saying exactly what it means in
the most expressive manner possible, no matter how many words it takes. The
concept of Victorian erotica, then, is enough to make me reel with delight—and
Dale Chase’s most recent collection, The Company He Keeps, surpasses all
my expectations.

It makes perfect sense that the most sexually repressive
period in history would have produced some of the randiest literature, and
Chase evokes that epoch with absolutely delightful abandon. Her characters are
university students, professors, writers, businessmen, artists, lawyers or
simply well-to-do ne’er-do-wells with but one thought in mind—men coupling with

As with Chase’s last collection, If the Spirit Moves You:
Ghostly Gay Erotica
, the vastly differing plotlines keep the stories from
sounding too “samey,” but even so you’ll not want to read more than one or two
at a sitting. They’re far too rich, heady and pornographically sumptuous to be
consumed in one evening’s go. These delicacies are meant to last longer than a
one night stand.

My favorites? “The Uninitiated Eye,” which explores the
carnal relationship between a groundskeeper and his employer’s son, the
perverse artistic delights of “A Genius for Sitting,” the reluctant (at first)
three-way of “Old Friends,” the kinky initiation into “The Westbrook Club,” the
seduction of a bridegroom-to-be in “Magnificent Surrender,”and the purposefully
wicked university professor in “A Fine Corruption.”

None of these, however, will prepare you for the delicious
“The Late Manner,” in which writer Malcom Arnold—well into his career—takes on
a typist named Elgin Ford, who brings a totally different type of novel out of
Arnold. This brilliant story is not only wonderfully dirty, but it bears a
philosophical stamp as well as illuminating the inner workings of one writer’s
mind. This one has a delightful twist that gives you food for thought as well
as a rise to your lap.

So brush up on your Henry James, stoke the fire, pour
yourself a nice brandy and settle in for a few long, wondrous evening with some
erotica that unfolds with grace, dignity and sheer love of language.

And keep a towel nearby too. 

Reviewed by Jerry Wheeler

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