Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size

My Secret Life

English and French Editions
Copyright © 2003 Sheryl Straight

My Secret Life was published in 11 volumes over the course of approximately 7 years. Supposedly, only six copies were originally printed (in actuality, probably 20 to 25 sets) and consisted of 11 volumes, approximately 380 pages each. This expensive whim cost the author 1100 pounds. The publisher has been attibuted to (probably) Augustin Brancart. It's thought that Charles Carrington may have been the courier, delivering the MS for the author to Brancart. The authorship of this work continues to be in dispute but the authors put forth have been H.S. Ashbee or Frank Harris.

This massive sexual diary, true or not, details the author's sexual exploits; he claims to have slept with over 1,200 women from "27 different countries, and 80 or more different nationalities, including every one in Europe."


Notes to the Checklist

The checklist covers only those editions published between c.1890 and 1967. The entries are sorted by the year shown on the title page, even though the edition may have been published later (or earlier); and where that's known it will be noted in brackets. If the title page lacks a year but an estimated date of publication is known the estimated date is used. Those titles without a date and without an estimated publication date are listed at the end of the checklist.


Checklist Last Revised on 4/30/06

  1. MY SECRET LIFE

    Volume I [Volume II, Volume III,....Volume XI]. Not for publication. Amsterdam: [Brancart?, c.1890s?].

    [First Edition]. In-8 (185 x 125 mm). Volumes 1 [378pp.] and 2 [373pp.], both with grey wrappers, were printed on laid paper watermarked with a crown and CONCORDIA; Volume 3 [379pp.], green wrappers, was printed on hand-made paper watermarked VAN GELDER; Volume 4 [379pp.], grey wrappers. was printed on laid paper unwatermarked and VAN GELDER; Volumes 5 [388pp], 6 [384pp.], 7 [369pp.] and 8 [383pp.], all with blue/grey wrappers, were printed on laid paper watermarked VAN GELDER; Volume 9 [386pp.], blue/grey wrappers, was printed on both VAN GELDER [signatures 1-11] and on 'Van Gelder Zonen' [signatures 12-24]; and Volumes 10 [376pp.], cream wrappers, and 11 [394pp.], yellow wrappers, were printed on 'Van Gelder Zonen'. Volume 11 contains the complete list of chapters as well as an index of themes. 40 erotic watercolour/ink/gold drawings in volume one.

    Mendes believes there may have been a 12th volume [possibly published at a later date and different place, Paris?] that consisted of the index to the chapters, the Introduction and Prefaces, and an alphabetical index but according to Mendes no copy of that volume has come to light.

    The publisher of My Secret Life has been attibuted to (probably) Augustin Brancart. It's thought that Charles Carrington may have been the courier, delivering the MS for the author to Brancart. The authorship of this work continues to be in dispute but the authors put forth have been H.S. Ashbee, Frank Harris or William S. Potter.

    For more detailed information see Peter Mendes' Clandestine Erotic Fiction in English 1880-1930 and Ian Gibson's The Erotomaniac

    (Mendes: 23.  British Library: P.C.13.b.1.  Kinsey: 823.7 W23 m9 1888b.  Eros invaincu: 85.  Bibliothèque Erotique Gérard Nordmann, Christies Sale #5445 / Lot 39, April 27, 2006)

  2. MY SECRET LIFE

    Amsterdam: Privately printed for subscribers, 1888 [New York: Vincent Smith?, c.1932].

    24cm. 3 volumes. Limited edition of 475 copies. 100 original water colors by Clara Tice.

    A reprint of the first 3 volumes of the original 11. This c.1932 edition, following the original edition as to title and imprint, was the first American attempt to re-publish all 11 volumes of the orignial c.1888 but the police [Sumner] shut the production down after this edition was published. The second attempt was done in 1934 as an abridged version of volume 5, titled Marital Frolics.

    (Libertine Literature; Parke-Bernet Galleries, Sale No.3194, April 27, 1971, #175)

  3. MY SECRET LIFE

    Amsterdam: Privately printed for subscribers, 1888 [New York: A. Levy?, c.1966].

    8vo. 3 volumes. Limited edition of 475 copies. Un-illustrated(?).

    (Kinsey: 823.7 W23 m9 1888.  Bookseller holding: James Cummins, 03/09/05)

  4. The Dawn of Sensuality

    Lutetia, 1900 [1901?].

    170pp. Limited edition of 200 copies printed on hand-made paper watermarked Arches.

    Probably printed in Paris. Title on the front wrapper: My Secret Life | The Dawn | of Sensuality. This work is a reprint of the first 6 chapters of the first volume of My Secret Life. In Forbidden Books the publication date is given as 1901.

    (Mendes: 130)

  5. Marital Frolics

    London [N.Y. or Philadelphia]: For distribution by subscription only, [n.d., c.1934]

    8vo. 10 plates by Malay.

    An abridged version of volume 5 of the original. This edition was the second attempt at an American publication of this work. The first attempt was done in c.1932 but was shut down by the police after the first 3 volumes edition were published.

    (Libertine Literature; Parke-Bernet Galleries, Sale No.3194, April 27, 1971, #175.  Stormgart Books: 03/09/05)

  6. MY SECRET LIFE

    Introduction by G. Legman. New York: Grove Press, [n.d., c.1966].

    35cm. 625pp.

    Photographic reproduction of the 2 v. 1966 Grove Press edition., with 4 pages reproduced on each page, including pagination of original: lxiii, 2359.

    (Kinsey: 823.7 W23 m9 1966)

  7. MY SECRET LIFE

    Introduction by G. Legman. Abridged but unexpurgated. New York: Grove Press, [n.d., c.1966].

    18cm. 697pp.

    (Bibliothèque Nationale: 8-Y2-90000 (1390).  Kinsey: 823.7 W23 m9 1966b)

  8. MY SECRET LIFE

    Introduction by G. Legman. New York: Grove Press, [n.d., 1966].

    24cm. 2 volumes in slipcase. Vol.1 [Volumes 1-6]: lxiii + 1290pp., Vol.2 [Volumes 7-11]: 1291-2359pp. [numbered columns, pagination continuous]

    This Grove Press edition is the first complete reprint. Kinsey also holds a photographic reproduction of volume 2 of this edition.

    (Library of Congress: HQ471.M9.  Kinsey: 823.7 W23 m9 1966c  British Library: P.C.19.b.27)

  9. MY SECRET LIFE

    Introduction by G. Legman. Secaucus, N.J.: Castle Books, Grove Press, 1966.

    34cm. 1 volume. Unpaginated but columns numbered; 2359 columns.

    (Kinsey: 823.7 W23 m9 1966d)

  10. MY SECRET LIFE

    Complete, unexpurgated Amsterdam edition. Atlanta, Ga.: PND Books [Pendulum Books], [c.1967].

    20cm. 11 volumes.

    Facsimile reprint. Vol.IV: 315pp., Vol.V: 315pp., Vol.XI: 212pp.

    (Kinsey: 823.7 W23 m9 1967b.  Bookseller holding: Stormgart Books, 03/09/05)

  11. MY SECRET LIFE

    Collector's copy complete and unabridged. Covina, Calif.: Collectors Publications, 1967.

    28cm. 11 volumes.

    (Kinsey: 823.7 W23 m9 1967)

  12. MY SECRET LIFE

    North Hollywood: Brandon House, 1967.

    951pp. Slipcover. 3 volumes in one [Vol.7, 8 and 9].

    (Bookseller holding: Book Rack, 03/09/05)

  13. WALTER 'MY SECRET LIFE'

    The Unique Memoirs of England's Most Uninhibited Lover. London: Polybooks, 1967. 3 volumes.

    Editors Drs Eberhard and Phyllis Kronhausen.

    (Bookseller holding: Book Rack, 03/09/05)



French Translations

  1. MA VIE SECRÈTE

    Illustrations de Berthommé Saint-André. Londres, 1885 [Paris: M. (Marcel) Seheur, 1930].

    Small 8vo. 3 volumes. 138, 120, 124pp. Limited edition of 400 copies. 26 hand-colored plates + 45 erotic chapter headings and tail pieces printed in red.

    This edition is an abridged, French translation of My Secret Life.

    (Monod: 582.  Importante Bibliothèque d'Ouvrages Érotiques; Hotel Drouot, Salle No.13, 1987, #21.  Kinsey: 823.7 W23 m92F 1932a.  Bibliothèque Erotique Gérard Nordmann, Christies, April 27, 2006 Sale #5445 / Lot 39)

  2. MA VIE SECRÈTE

    Mon enfance et mon adolesence amoureuses. Traduit pour la premi re fois de l'anglais sur l'un des 10 exemplaires de l'edition originale et unique. Paris: Collection de l'Academie des Dames, 1923.

    16mo. 2 volumes?. Vol.1: 175pp.

    This French translation has been ascribed to Louis Perceau.

    (British Library: P.C.15.b.16.  Bookseller holding: Stormgart Books, 03/09/05)

  3. MA VIE SECRÈTE

    Par un écrivain inconnu. Avec une préface de Georges Legman. Paris: Cercle du livre précieux, 1961.

    21cm. 375pp.

    (Bibliothèque Nationale: ENFER-1608)

Line drawing by Boris




Erotica Illustrations  |  Artist Checklists  |  Publishers / Writers  |  Book Checklists  |  Obscene Censorship  |  Timeline  |  Resources