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Archive Reviews

Bilderlexikon der Erotik (Picture Encyclopedia of Eroticism),
Digitale Bibliothek Nr.19, 1999, Price: DM 99.-
Directmedia Publishing GmbH, Yorckstrasse 59, 10965 Berlin
(Original printed edition: Institut für Sexualforschung Wien 1928-1931, 4 vols. Illustated)

Reviewed by E. J. Haeberle

This is the CD ROM edition of a legendary, now extremely rare, standard work of early sexology. Its fame rested not so much on the many articles on all sorts of sexological subjects written by various authors of the time as on the more than 6000 illustration, many of them in full color. The whole project was the work of an "Institute for Sex Research" in Vienna, that, under its director Schidrowitz, had amassed an enormous erotological library.

The encyclopedia has never been translated and is presented here in ist original German. It is divided into three sections: Cultural History, Literature and Art, and Sexual Science. These contain very detailed articles on a great variety of subjects according to the latest reasearch findings of the time (1920s). Of course, these are now mostly of historical interest and, in any case, require a knowledge of German.

Nevertheless, this new digital version is also strongly recommended to those unfamiliar with the language. The enormous amount of fascinating illustrations alone justifies the purchase. These illustrations (reproductions of paintings, graphic art, cartoons, posters, newspaper ads, flyers, photos of relevant objects, etc.) are not available elsewhere, and they are reproduced here in exceptional quality. With its wealth of pictorial material, the encyclopedia is a treasure trove for any sexologist interested in the history of sexual customs. There are only three other works from this first period of sexology offering similar large collections of rare illustrations: 1. The various precious volumes by Eduards Fuchs on sexological aspects of cultural history, 2. The illustrated German edition of "The Moral History of the World War" by Magnus Hirschfeld, and 3. Hirschfeld's picture volume (vol. 4) of his 5-volume text book "Geschlechtskunde" (Sexual Knowledge). However, none of these is as yet available in an electronic format.

Technically, this digital edition of the "Bilderlexikon" offers a number of convenient features, such as a search engine for simple and refined searches, an assistance program for printing, and easy-to-use internal book mark functions.

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