>Sex Songs of the Ancient Letts


Following up on yesterday’s rare-book trolling, here’s another one – Sex Songs of the Ancient Letts, “translated into American by Bud Berzing. Introduction and Annotations by Arsene Eglis” – (“These sex songs of the Ancient Letts include one thousand earthy lusty verses that date as far back as 2000 BC” – “Never before available in English, these songs are translated in brash vivid uncensored American slang”. “The verses are accompanied by a witty, scholarly commentary with background data and interpretative detail”).

Pretty convincing eh? – Only trouble is there never was such a civilization as the Letts, Berzing and Eglis don’t exist, and the whole thing is a hilarious hoax! perpetrated by… Berzing? Ginsberg? – several have suggested that the pseudonymous author was Allen.

We’re not sure. We’d even float out there the name of Tuli Kupferberg?.. Whichever and whomever, the book certainly makes for an entertaining read.

Here’s more of the tongue-in-cheek jacket copy:

“Dealing with the sexual practices of a hard working, pious, people, these folk songs constitute a unique sociological document with prescriptions for many modern social ills and psychoneurotic disorders. In their free and forthright approach to sex, they suggest an antidote to the puritanical inhibitions and repressions that erupt in shocking crimes of violence today. The folk singers tell of happenings on the Horse-Watch, when the girls join the lads in their night-long vigil; of picturesque three-day wedding festivals enlivened by bridal-chasers and bride-nappers; of the tales the farm boys told about the girls of Riga; and of the joyous Midsummer Night holiday when the whole region was an open house and the night was alive with romance and adventure…This heritage from an ancient culture proves that sexual freedom and deep, sophisticated, religious experience are compatible. It reveals the healthy,natural attitude of a sturdy peasant people toward birth and death, work and play, mating and marrying. It provides a rich imagery and graphic symbolism that would have fascinated Sigmund Freud. It discloses that many modern sexual practices – from breast cult to fellatio – flourished four thousand years ago (sic) in an industrious, moral, and monotheistic society. This notable social and historical document presents an informal introduction to a remarkable but neglected Indo-European civilization. Its blunt and pungent folk songs on sexual themes offer a challenging philosophy, bawdy humor, and diverting, offbeat, reading.”

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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Bud Berzing, Sex Songs of the Ancient Letts

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