The Physiology of Love, Remy de Gourmont, Rarity Press Incorporated, 1932..

Truly a bizarre book. Most of it is devoted to a comparison of sex among animals and humans. A birds and bees approach as it were. But the lessons he purports to draw from this are at best bizarre, and at their worst sexist and racist in ways that exceed even the views of the times.

He credits women with "coquetry, ... flight from the male, ... return, ... flirtation which seems always so cruel to her lover," which he compares to the behavior of insects. P. 3. He states that womens intelligence is less spontaneous than that of the man, and that she inclines generally toward practical activities. P. 35. And he states that a woman with a masculine education (perhaps one with more spontaneous intelligence?) "is, even though possessing the same beauty, less a seductress than any other of her sex." P. 39.

Arguably though, he is not exactly comfortable with his own sexuality, as he says that "What makes woman so beautiful is the invisibility of her sexual organs. The male organ may sometimes be an advantage, but mostly it is a burden and always a flaw." P.40

And his views of relationships between men and women are rather, well, interesting, as well. He states that the "purpose of the couple is to free the female from all care which is not sexual, so that she can attend to her more important function without hindrance." P. 39. And while he apparently would include child rearing in this function, not just sex, he refers to it as "maternal indolence." P. 39. He apparently believes that females of all races are exceptionally "lascivious." P. 63-64. And he credits men of other races with putting up with rather "curious inventions" (including the ampallang) "doubtless happy at the thought they will be able to free themselves at the price of temporary pain from the terrible lasciviousness of their females," while attributing "Aryans" use of prayer, the idea of sin, and of the "pleasure of vanity dazzling the woman and urging her to please others before she satisfies herself" in order to control the problem in western civiliZation. P. 63-64. Yet it is men that he feels must be able to step outside the couple. He says that this is not promiscuity, as it does not dissolve the couple: "To summarize in a word the answer we should like to give, we should say that man, and chiefly civilized man, is dedicated to the couple, but only supports it on condition that he may leave it and return to it at will. THis solution seems to reconcile contradictory tastes, and is more elegant than the solution presented by divorce: always to begin over agin; it conforms not only to human, but also to animal tendencies. It is doubly favorable to the species by assuring at once the appropriate upbringing of children, and the complete satisfaction of a need which, in a civilized state, is separated neither from aesthetic nor sentimental pleasure." P. 129

And, he is a screaming racist. Not only are we treated to statements like "We know that cats have a rough tongue; negroes also have this roughness of the tongue as well as of all the other mucous parts; as a result the genital pleasure is notably increased as those who are acquainted with negresses testify." P.62 But also the following, which I assure you only gets worse as it goes along but will spare you all but this sample: "We know that the red ants make war on the black ants and steal their grubs whcih, hatched in captivity, furnish them with excellent servants, attentive and obedient. White humanity, at one point in its history, also had a similar opportunity, but, less discrete than the red ant, sentimentally gave it up, thus betraying its destiny, renouncing, under Christian influence, the complete and logical development of its civilization." P. 140.