This book is an original and illuminating study of erotic literature in eighteenth-century France. Approaching the erotic book as a literary genre, Goulemot suggests that in early modern France it could be found alongside accepted forms of literary practice. Books containing obscene language, scatological descriptions and the depiction of scenes of joyous fornication abounded, and were considered a recognized fact of cultural life.Goulemot argues that descriptions of sexual activity were the object of a healthy and well-established trade, and became ousted from the marketplace only with the arrival of a new, more codified elitist conception of art. It was at this point, under classicism, that a form of modern pornography - privately bought and secretly read - was born.Goulemot discusses the rules of production of erotic literature, its means of dissemination and modes of consumption, from the touting of prohibited books in the park of Versailles to the uses of literature in waiting-rooms in brothels. He examines the various narrative techniques used in erotic books, as well as the images and illustrations they contained. Forbidden Texts will be of particular interest to students of literature and literary theory, cultural history and the history of the book.