Les Onze Mille Verges

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Date: 1907

Region: Europe

Subject: Explicit Sexuality Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Literature


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Artist: Guillaume Apollinaire

Confronting Bodies: French officials

Dates of Action: 1917, 1931

Location: France

Description of Artwork: Apollinaire was known for his erotic writing and satire and tested the bounds of sexual expression in literature, challenging the Third Republic's virtuous facade. His most famous book, "Les Onze Mille Verges, (1907)" (The Eleven Thousand Rods) is about a Romanian prince who leaves Bucharest to find the perfect female. Apollinaire never claimed authorship of his book because he feared prosecution under France's public obscenity statute, passed in 1898. The law forbid the publishing of many of his works, as well as other writers of erotic literature. The book has elements of sadism, homosexuality, paedophilia, necrophilia, coprophilia and satirical commentary on French government officials, theater administrators, police and journalists.

The Incident: Book censored from its release in 1907 until 1970. Apollinaire.

In 1924 Apollinaire was accredited for writing "Lez Onze Mille Verges."

In 1931, a censored version of his book was published.

Results of Incident: During World War I Apollinaire surreptitiously worked to publish banned books. In 1970, "Les Onze Mille Verges," was publicly published, uncut.

Source: Censorship, A World Encyclopedia, ed. D. Jones