We began Ariana Reines week with AR’s original translation of Baudelaire’s My Heart Laid Bare, published through her own press, Mal-o-Mar Editions. Now, after two days cavorting with Dan Hoy and Jon Leon, whose split book (The Hot Tub / Glory Hole) is also new from MoM, we return to Reines-as-translator, and consider a new book from Semiotext(e), The Little Black Book of Griselidis Real: Days and Nights of an Anarchist Whore. Here (from the site) is the briefest of introductions to Real:
Hailed as a virtuoso writer and a “revolutionary whore,” Grisélidis Réal (1929–2005) chanced into prostitution at thirty-one after an upper-class upbringing in Switzerland. Serving clients from all walks of life, Réal applied the anarcho-Marxist dictum “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” to her profession, charging sliding-scale fees determined by her client’s incomes and complexity of their sexual tastes. Réal went on to become a militant champion of sexual freedom and prostitutes’ rights. She has described prostitution as “an art, and a humanist science,” noting that “the only authentic prostitution is that mastered by great technical artists … who practice this form of native craft with intelligence, respect, imagination, heart…”
The main action of the Semiotext(e) volume is a series of lengthy interviews between Real and Jean-Luc Hennig (a professor at the University of Cairo) but the final section, a hearty selection of entries from the titular Little Black Book are not to be missed. They are the concise, practical, hilarious, and delightfully NSFW. Click through to read some of my favorites.