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In the 17th century, John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester (1647–80) was notorious for obscene verses, many of which were published posthumously in compendiums of poetry by him and other Restoration rakes such as Sir Charles Sedley, Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset, and George Etherege.
Also the Italian Una Chi distinguished herself among other publications for coldly analytical prose and for the crudeness of the stories.
Such works have frequently been banned by the government or religious authorities.
The Tale of Two Lovers (Latin: Historia de duobus amantibus) written in 1444 was one of the bestselling books of the 15th century, even before its author, Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, became Pope Pius II.
It is one of the earliest examples of an epistolary novel, full of erotic imagery.
Erotic fiction is credited in large part for the sexual awakening and liberation of women into the 20th and 21st centuries.
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter (later made into a film by Fellini) is an ancient Roman novel, which has partially survived, narrating the misadventures of an impotent man named Encolpius, who has been cursed by the god Priapus.
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During the Renaissance period, many poems were not written for publication; instead, they were merely circulated in manuscript form among a relatively limited readership.
This was the original method of circulation for the Sonnets of William Shakespeare, who also wrote the erotic poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece.