The origin of Valentine's Day is shrouded in mystery...much like the filling in that last odd-looking piece of chocolate. At least three different St. Valentines were recorded in Catholic church history, who were maimed and martyred anywhere from Rome to Africa. The romantic bent of the holiday probably stems from ancient Greco-Roman rituals of love and fertility, such as Lupercalia, where celebrators wrapped themselves in the skins of just-sacrificed goats. This year, forgo the sweetly repressed Victorian Valentine's tradition, and instead go for something a little wilder, a little darker--in other words, let's go back to Valentine's Day's roots.
The Poetry of Petrarch, hardcover
"I feed on pain, I laugh while shedding tears/both death and life displease me equally;/and this state, Lady, is because of you." Petrarch was not only the brilliant inventor of beautiful, moving, witty sonnets--he was also the original emo dude.
the Marquis de Sade, Letters from Prison, hardcover
Includes dozens of letters between the Marquis and his wife, Madame de Sade (a former strict Catholic, passionately in love with her libertine husband), discussing everything from clean shirts to writing to the morals charges that landed him in prison.
don't kiss me: the art of claude cahun & marcel moore, hardcover
Subversive, queer step-sisters and lovers, Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore also carried on a fascinating, intimate artistic relationship, which is given expert treatment here.
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita, paperback
"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul." And so begins Nabokov's brutally funny, uncomfortably erotic, and ultimately damning portrayal of one man's sexual obsessions and his doomed relationship with teenager Dolores Haze.
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