An annotated bibliography
The pseudonym P N Dedeaux is one of the most celebrated names in the history of erotic flagellation literature of the recent past. Since the relaxation of censorship, beginning in the late 1960’s, that led to an enormous increase in the availability of pornography in book form, there has been a proliferation of work in the genre nearly all of which has been published under pseudonyms ranging from the mundane to the ridiculous. Pierre DeLashe and Jean Martinet leave one in no doubt of the probable content of their work, while Kenneth Harding could be your local accountant. Some authors have been amazingly prolific none more so than Paul Hugo Litwinsky (1915-1987), the “man of 1000 pseudonyms”, who claimed to have produced over 700 works over the last third of his life.
P N Dedeaux made his name with a very much smaller body of work, about a dozen novels, only half of which were first published under the Dedeaux imprint. As is common with all pornographic fiction, the semi-underground nature of the industry meant that works were published using different titles and attributed to a range of authors. Some progress towards the resolution of this situation is one of the objects of this essay.
One of the incentives to undertake the necessary literary detection is the goal of discovering the true identity of the author behind the pen names. In the case of Dedeaux we can now be pretty certain of that identity. After the death of Barney Rossett, the founder of Grove Press and, later, Blue Moon, his estate presented the accumulated Grove Press papers, some 963 boxes in all, to the library of Syracuse University. An index to these records has been published on the web and research has confirmed that the author behind Dedeaux is Geoffrey Atheling Wagner (1927-?) an English born American translator and writer of novels, essays and criticism.
The Grove Press collection has index entries for Wagner and Dedeaux and provides a list of works contracted by Grove press for publication. The titles of these works are given as :
- The Nothing Things
- Rosie’s Aunt
- Tender Buns
- The Territory Within
- Wealed Venus (all listed under Wagner) and
- The Tutor
- The Prefect
- The Governess Governed (all listed under Dedeaux)
These works can be considered as the basic corpus of Dedeaux’ erotic flagellation literature. In addition the index lists some other works including a translated edition of the Selected Poems of Charles Baudelaire, published by Grove Press in 1974, and a non-fiction essay SM- The Last Taboo. The details of this work is included in this bibliography.
While Rossett proceeded to publish all of Wagner’s eroticism, mostly under the Grove Press Venus Library imprint, and later under the Blue Moon label, some of Wagner’s work had previously been published by Greenleaf, under the Classics imprint, Essex house and Taurus Press.
The detailed bibliography which follows attempts to catalogue the full publication history of Dedeaux but inevitably there are some gaps in the record which further research may be able to fill.
The attraction of Dedeaux to devotees of erotic flagellation is based on his distinctive treatment of the genre. It is mostly concerned with the discipline of young women by dominant characters of both sexes. Dedeaux heroines do not get spankings, playful or otherwise. The instrument of choice of his protagonists is the cane and the preferred target the naked female buttocks. Not that the recipients necessarily escape the birch of the strap or the paddle or always avoid an evacuating clyster or ginger fig. The setting of the tales range from Ancient Rome to twentieth century university. None of the punishment is consensual in the modern sense, but much of it is administered at least on the pretext of improving the moral character of the sufferer. And while few of the young ladies can be described as willing victims many take their just or unjust deserts with a degree of insouciance improbable in real life. If punishment is the dominant theme, Dedeaux does not shy from the depiction of the sexual lust generated in either the receiver or giver. Above all there is a certain lightness about the stories. Dedeaux does not take it too seriously – these are not dark, anguished paeans of sexual abuse.
Publication History – The early works
The contracts Wagner signed with Grove Press were in 1970 or thereabouts. The earliest publication date found for other publishers is 1968. It is reasonable, then, to assume that they were written in the 1960’s. It is unlikely that an author with Wagner’s output at this time would have spared the effort to write them consecutively, so they would have likely been composed over a number of years.
The detailed history will commence with the titles already listed. There have been other works, some much later, attributed to Dedeaux and these will be dealt with after the main body of work. The books will be grouped under the Grove Press index names with other titles and pseudonyms identified under these headings. Where a pseudonym other than Dedeaux was used this is indicated in the listing. Blue Moon and its successors including Masquerade and Running Press published reprints with different dates and covers and no attempt has been made to differentiate these except where the content has been varied.
The tale is set in the fictional Brierton Academy in Bermuda at an unstated time but contemporary to its composition. It concerns the efforts of several succulent young ladies to gain admission to the exclusive Beta Beta Rho sorority. Naturally in this scenario, the aspiring pledges have to endure all manner of humiliations and ordeals set by the equally attractive and desirable seniors. Not least of which is to oil and polish the sorority house canes before presenting their elegant posteriors for some salutary strokes. Unsurprisingly there are lesbian adventures in the House and on occasion a male intrusion
- The Nothing Things, Essex House 135, 1969, 160pp
- Sorority of Submissive Girls,( Carl Buono), Grove Press Venus Library 1137,1972.
- The Nothing Things, Masquerade Books, 1996, 1998
This story seems never to have been published under the original name given in the Grove Press records, not doubt because as a title it hardly fires the imagination. Research done to date has led to a Venus Library title, The Violated under the pseudonym Ashe Mannix. The tale concerns Janet Westwood, a librarian with masochistic tendencies, and her orphaned niece Rosemary, who are abducted and violated by a gang of unsavoury characters. There is more violent sex than is usual with Dedeaux but other similarities exist. Analysis with stylometry software gives close parallels with other Dedeaux texts in word choice and paragraphing. Descriptive phrases also match. The use of the word “rumpy” as an adjective for the female rear is classic Dedeaux, the word appearing in at least two other Dedeaux texts but not found anywhere else in this author’s experience. One other reprint has been found.
- The Violated (Ashe Mannix), Grove Press Venus Library 1095. 1972.
- Janet, Librarian (Raphael Melic) Blue Moon
This is the work more than any other which underpins Dedeaux’ reputation as a supreme practitioner. It is a biographical tale of Thomasina Wragg born in 1855, the orphaned daughter of a serving maid, who is adopted by the aristocratic Usher family and educated to become a lady. She is put under the tutelage of the redoubtable Wilfred Pelham, whose use of rod and birch is legendary. Pelham’s extensive experience is in the training of young men and he treats Thomasina as he would any boy – even extending to a preference for sodomy. There is considerable narrative power in the novel and the characterisation of Thomasina, Mr. Pelham and the ferocious Lady Mildmount is particularly strong.
- The Tutor: Being the reminiscences of Thomasina Wragg, Taurus Publications TP229, Wilmington, 1970, 215pp.
- The Tutor, Grove Press Venus Library, NY, 1971.
- Thomasina ,Blue Moon, 1988.
A much re-printed (and much altered) tale of the picaresque adventures of two upper class English schoolgirls, Victoria Digby and Joy Ffrench, known respectively as “the Bosom” and “the Bottom” after their principal attractions. These two young ladies, both graduates of Bothington College, where flogging seems to be the major focus of the curriculum, embark on a trip around the Mediterranean encountering a series of admirers including a dwarf of perverted tastes and an Arab nobleman and end up in an Algerian prison camp before escaping and returning to England where their parents and guardians welcome them home with large doses of salutary discipline. There are more whippings, canings and sundry other torments endured by the protagonists than in any other Dedeaux tale. The versions of this story have been edited with some parts added or deleted, but the central content remains.
- Wealed Venus (Chaucer Cartwright), Greenleaf Classics NK-450, California, 1970.
- New At It (Blake Tremaine), Grove Press Venus Library 1166, NY, 1972.
- Transfer Point – Nice, Blue Moon, NY, 1989, 239pp. also Running Press, 2001.
- Algiers Tomorrow, Blue Moon, NY, 1992, 192pp also.Running Press 2000, 192 pp
A conventional story concerning Marc Merlin, a dominant man in the fortunate circumstance of being able to administer discipline to a stable of willing, but otherwise frustrated women. Full of Dedeaunoctal onomatopoetic description of cane and strap impact on the female person. The episode with the peach is especially delicious and has been anthologised.  After the initial printings by Essex, Brandon and Grove it was a long wait for a later re-issue.
- Tender Buns, Essex House 126, 1969, B003VW43S4
- Tender Buns, Brandon house, 1969.
- The Sensualists (Frank Mace), Grove Press Venus Library , 1972.
- The Sensualists (Frank Mace), Blue Moon, 2001, 192pp.
In the year 1729 the pupils at Schloss Rutenberg are all daughters of the Prussian nobility and are expected to take their birchings, canings and other exemplary tortures with the stoicism expected of the master race. Not all of them do of course and they pay for their weakness. The schoolmistresses are relentless with their student charges, but suffer in a different way at the hands of the local regiment of grenadiers. This book was always published as a Dedeaux and, together with The Tutor, established his reputation. Taurus used the plural in the title Grove did not.
- The Prefects, Taurus Publications, 1970.
- The Prefect, Grove Press Venus Library 1036, 1971.
- The Prussian Girls, Blue Moon, 1987, 1998
- The Prussian Girls, Running Press, 2003, 1562013408.
A pastiche of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, an adaption of volume 1 with added sex and sadism. Jane’s education consists mainly of flagellation from the tender mercies of Mr. Brocklebank, a seedier version of Thomasina’s Mr. Pelham. Jane and her tormentors seem to prefer suspension from the ceiling as best for application of the necessary fustigation. Mr Rochester gets into the act of course and the tale concludes with Jane achingly grateful to all concerned. Another story where the Grove working title was never used for publication and has had more pseudonyms attached to it than any other Dedeaux. The introduction to the Venus Library edition is by Dedeaux.
- The Governess’s Strange Desires (Denis Lord), Grove Press Venus Library 1136, 1972.
- An English Education (anonymous) ,Blue Moon, 1988, 1996 1562010336, ,0821650254
- Disciplining Jane (Jane Eyre) – Running Press 2001, 2004) 1562013521
Set in a fictional “Territory” this fantasy takes place in what seems to be 1950’s suburban America transported to somewhere in Africa. The “Territory” has an unusual social system where young women are dominated by their parents and wives by their husbands. Good order is maintained by whippings all round, even to the extent of having female Negro traffic cops administering punishments rather than speeding tickets. Joanna comes to the “Territory” after a failed marriage to stay with her sister. At first she is shocked by the corporal punishment she witnesses but gradually comes to accept the situation and crave punishment for herself. All the participants are sexually aroused by the beatings so punishment usually leads on to other matters. The title refers to the state of mind that Joanna becomes to regard as natural and fulfilling. This story is unusual in that it does not seem to have been published by Grove Press despite its appearance in the index. It may be that it lurks somewhere in the Venus Library under another title and pseudonymous author. Nor does it appear in Rossett’s subsequent Blue Moon titles, its only reprintings being in the short-lived Top Shelf and Masquerade imprints.
- The Territory Within, Greenleaf Classics 1969 (Chaucer Cartwright)
- The Territory Within, Top Shelf 1998 1563339250
- The Territory Within, Masquerade 1998
Carol’s Tribal Custom
Although not listed in the index to the Grosset archive, this Greenleaf publication bears the hallmarks of Dedeaux in its use of language. The pseudonym of Chaucer Cartwright is used here as it was in The Territory Within and Wealed Venus. The story concerns Carol Burgess, a prim legal secretary, abducted and abused by a group of low-lifes of both sexes. The experience excites her and she goes on to willingly consort with her tormentors who, naturally, give her a taste of discipline. There is not as much flagellation in this title as usual in Dedeaux, although a sorority pledge beating scene id reminiscent of Sorority of Submissive Girls.
- Carol’s Tribal Custom, Greenleaf Classics NK-5150, 1969
This volume is the only Dedeaux non-fiction piece. It is a treatise on sado-masochistic practices in the 1960’s and a provides a fascinating insight into Wagner’s thinking. Not published as a Dedeaux at all in its several editions, but uniquely under two pseudonyms, ostensibly a husband and wife. It is uncertain whether there was indeed another collaborator. It is a serious, if not scholarly work, a long way from the sort of pseudo-scientific introductions which attempted to give an air of respectability to many pornographic productions of the sixties. The work concludes with short extracts from well known sado-masochistic works, including The Story of O and, Harriet Marwood, and a couple of Dedeaux snippets, from the The Tutor and New At It. There are also two poems by Baudelaire, from Geoffrey Wagner’s translation, an reprint of which was published by Grove Press in 1974.
- S-M : The Last Taboo, Grove Press Evergreen Black Cat, 1973. (Gerald and Caroline Greene)
- S-M : The Last Taboo, Ballantine, 1978. (Gerald Greene)
- S-M : The Last Taboo, Blue Moon, 1996 (Gerald and Caroline Greene)
The later works
This title is not mentioned in the Rossett papers, although it could have been one of the untitled pieces hinted at in the index. It does not appear to have been issued by Grove Press and its first and, so far as research has gone, its only printing was in 1992. It must therefore be of doubtful provenance. The work is quite short at 28,333 words compared to, say, The Prefects at 56,000, which may have been the reason for its omission from the Venus Library. The story is set in a training camp for female athletes somewhere in England. Camp attendees are encourage in their training with forfeits and punishments, not only with traditional instruments, but with sexual machinery and frequent clysters. Attendance at the camp is voluntary which fits the Dedeaux philosophy of semi-consensual acceptance of discipline. There is no real storyline or plot, just a succession of punishments with the camp manager’s wife as the principal victim. To a degree it reminds one of the prison camp in Wealed Venus only with willing inmates. The publisher, Olympia Pillow Books, also published cheap and atrociously illustrated rubbish which adds to the doubts about this title..
- The Camp, Olympia Pillow, 1992.
Clotilda is a story in four chapters, each featuring the young Clotilda as the principal object of punishment and desire. In Chapter One she is a British slave in ancient Rome, in Chapter Two a servant maid in Eighteenth century England, in Chapter Three the daughter of a Victorian clergyman and in Chapter Four a maid in an unnamed British Colony. The style is classic Dedeaux with a minimum of extraneous detail and plenty of discipline. The book is of shorter length at 40,000 words than most of Dedeaux. Its first known printing was in Blue Moon in 1989.
- Clotilda, Blue Moon, 1989.
This tale is set in Vienna in some unspecified period, but with a feel of the 1930’s. “Aunt Anna Berndt and her friends amuse themselves flogging, clystering and otherwise making the lives of their daughters, nieces and maids a misery. One of them has written a story, a pornographic pastiche of Wuthering Heights. An extract takes up thirty pages of the book. Their husbands tire of their antics and have them sent to prison for a salutary correction. The provenance of this work is also uncertain. It doesn’t appear in print until 1999, thirty years after the main body of work. It features a male character amongst the submissive victims, uncharacteristic of Dedeaux. The book has a dedication “For Martin Pyx – Fellow Worker in the Fields of Iniquity”. It must be considered that this book is actually by Martin Pyx. (This possibility is examined further in Martin Pyx : An Annotated Bibliography)
- Aunt Anna, Blue Moon, 1999, 183pp
- Aunt Anna, Running Press, 1999.