June 08, 2003
Subtitle: Travel & Sex.
Tease! After the suggestive title & the seductive dustjacket, Littlewood writes a beautifully severe introduction, explaining where he curtailed the book and why - the astringincy is lively in itself, and it promises both a well-ordered book and a field of extensions from it.
Littlewood announces that he limits himself mostly to France , Italy, and Tahiti; to English travellers' published accounts; and that he leaves out professional travels - "business travel, military service, colonial administration and the like." And he suggests that he need not spend words explicitly condemning the exploitative behavior he describes; and that dividing tourism into 'sex' and 'other' categories is facile. "To propose other places and people as spectacle, which is what tourism does, promotes an essentially amoral response to experience, and sexual spectacles are just one aspect of the general tourist experience."(p 49).
The first few chapters are a brisk trot through the rise of the Grand Tour. mixed results, appears. So does ; I think Trollope's biographer cited the same worry about English girls at risk of gaining non-English habits that Littlewood does.
, logorrheic, is the meat of it; , who followed with
I know I've read a funny description, by Fanny Trollope, of a tourist trip down some boringly lovely and historical river (Germany?) during which a new husband reads, quiveringly, from Don Juan:
. His new bride raises her handkerchief to her eyes, which he takes as a show of sentimental tears, and everyone else sees hiding yawns of boredom. Littlewood hits his stride with Byron's notorious travel, sexual escapades, stunning book sales based on the illicit thrills of foreign ways - Littlewood's title, of course, is from Byron's
What men call gallantry, and gods adultery,
Is much more common where the climate's sultry.
So after Byron the link between tourism and sexual license was too widely admitted to be covered by antiquarian studies. Littlewood writes, of Jekyll & Hyde or the Victorian tourist generally,
It is not that he is a hypocrite - both the pleasure-seeker and the respectable doctor are genuine sides of his nature - but there is no social mechanism that allows him to give expression to the pleasure-seeker without compromising the gravity of the doctor.(p. 120)
The pleasure sought is very often homosexuality or pederasty, increasingly dangerous for a man who stayed in England. There were harder-to-define claims that England was stuffy and grey and boring in all ways. However, in being descriptive rather than judgemental, I think Littlewood ends up condemning many of the sex tourists most forcibly, out of their own contradictions. Someone who always gives his young paramours cricket-belts has not found a value-system free of Englishness. Worse, men who have affairs with poor boys in poor countries, instead of each other, are not great evidence that they were touring for freedom in general instead of the freedom they get from being on top of the heap. They wanted, perhaps, to feel like outlaws but to be safe. Byron at least abandoned safety.
Gaugin was even worse: he had to move to progressively poorer islands to find women he could bribe into sleeping with him, because he was visibly syphilitic.
Odd connection to WWI - everything connects to WWI or Fanny Trollope - some lines from
, on his way back from sun-drenched romance in Tahiti, describing the possible war as an escape into 'cleanness' from tired old civilization. More credibly, after WWI, sun-worship for reasons of public festival & universal hygiene became common in the UK and Germany. That might even be admirable, a resort to valuing the good things that don't need rationing.
The famous female travellers (, , etc) are mentioned, and it's clear they had an interest in sexual freedom too, but there aren't nearly as many details - ten, twelve pages total.
To look up: The Mediterranean Passion, for evidence that the Victorians liked a tanned skin even in women.
So wrote clew in
Please review : The Sultry Climate by Emil Di Vago, published by Muff Direct 12th June 2003.
Is it some incredible coincidence that two books so similarly named could be published within four days of each other?
Lord Byron would be amused!
I would appreciate your response if possible,but please allow for my inexperience, I am only a novice with computers.
Regards, Emil Di Vago
Neither my library nor Amazon have The Sultry Climate. I would assume, from its name, that "Muff Direct" was a pornography house, except that I expect such publishers to have considerably better Web presence.
If it is such a work, I'm afraid I'm not very likely to read it. If it isn't such a work, your Web inexperience really is showing. I am not the person to cure that, but I recommend that you find someone who can help you set up a website that will make you at least visible on Google; and while doing that, ask them about spam.
Thankyou for replying.
I have only just discovered your reply with the assistance of an experienced user.
My address is Muff Post Office, Lifford, Co. Donegal, Ireland.
Perhaps this might explain the publishing name of "Muff Direct".
If You would like a copy of my book please don't hesitate to ask;
kind regards, Emil DiVago
"Two nations divided by a single language", indeed! I'm sorry for being suspicious, but I have been recently spammed by persons Byronic only in their frailties, and "muff" is mostly used as a vulgarity in the States.
However, I see that your book now appears in the catalogue of University College, Cork.
(A technical matter for your experienced user: I am puzzled by the nested http & ftp link you left. I can't find a reference to you on freeserve.net; some tidying-up of details is probably called for. )
Again I thank you for replying and even though I have attained a new computer and an alternate e-mail address (it was confusing everyone,especially me as the connection was cross-border), I'm afraid that my user skills have not improved much. However I am attending classes and will improve - or else I shall just have to borrow a six year old to show me how!
Kind regards, Emil DiVago
If interested in reviewing my book, please advise name and address for me to forward you a copy.
I do not yet have a distributer in the U.S.A.
(or anywhere else for that matter), but I shall persevere.
I don't know if this will get us back in communication, but I received an e-mail from , and just having re-read it, I have discovered that with my usual acute observation - this has to be you.
Briefly my situation:- Having ascertained through solicitors that the proposed novel - "The Sultry Climate" was neither pornographic nor obscene, in consultation with the Censorship Office in Dublin, and having verified that no such Title had been previously used according to any available data, it was offered to various Publishers over a five year period.
Having had several rejections from established Publishing Houses, and considering that everyone who had read it reckoned it was well written, a decision was made to go ahead and publish it ourselves.
So after many editorial emends and much technical advice and assistance the final proof was sent to the printers - and Lo and Behold - after thirteen years since conception, we receive back the actual physical paperback.
My professional advisers informed me that this would automatically be registered with Amazon:
so when a friend gave me an unwanted computer, I could not resist looking up "The Sultry Climate".
It must have been beginner's luck that I actually 'tuned' in to find your review of virtually an identically named novel published just four days previously to mine.
Thus we are here now!
I am endeavouring to raise a WEB page promoting my novel, but like the actual publishing it seeme to be taking a long time.
I am still taking lessons!
Please advise address to send copy of book.
For info: email@example.com
Surely to God one of those should find me, even if I cannot find them myself!
Did you ever manage to read "The Sultry Climate", by Emil Di Vago?
I have not received any communication from you for months.
Please keep in touch.
My apologies. I should have immediately responded when I got the book in the mail.
I was taken aback, more amused than dismayed, when it turned out to be rather raunchier than most things I read. It isn't completely outside possibility, but my first reaction was to blush and file it underneath a stack of books, where it stayed.
Now I am wondering what the fair mood to read it for review is; as a rule, I try to read books I have little in common with analytically, but I'm not sure the forebrain is the proper target.
Stay amused, it was intended to be a humourous piece of nonsense - trying to differentiate the attitudes towards sex as experienced by men and women during 'the act'.
However, as is obvious, I got carried away.
But overall I don't think it is too shocking.
The comments that I have received from ladies having read the book are that they found it highly amusing - no one has yet slapped my face.
Even Nel McCafferty has a copy, and I have not been ridiculed in the media ......as yet!
Don't mind the fore-brain - just keep an open mind. Many thanks for your time, Emil