"Hell at the Library, Eros in Secret," which opened at the National Library here last month, offers a peek at its secret archive of erotic art, putting on display more than 350 sexually explicit literary works, manuscripts, engravings, lithographs, photographs, film clips, even calling cards and cardboard pop-ups.
Visitors to the library can listen to a modern-day recording of an 18th-century "dialogue" during sex (simultaneous orgasms included) and watch a six-minute excerpt from a grainy black-and-white silent pornography film made in 1921 (one man, two women, intriguing lingerie).
Writer Elaine Sciolino uses the exhibit as a jumping-off point to discuss shifts in French public morality, vis-a-vis l’affaire Sarkozy et cetera. (Yes, I’m mixing French and Latin, and poorly–you want to make something out of it?) Frankly (pun fully intended), France is starting to depress me a little bit. If they renounce short workdays, joie de vivre, and amour, the best way to visit will be via literature. If I want to observe a workaholic, sexually conflicted society, I can always stay home.