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Rare Treatise on Kissing

Über den Kuß und das Küssen: eine historisch-juridisch-medizinische Abhandlung [On the kiss and on kissing: a historical, legal, and medical treatise].

Wien: Pichler, 1802. Octavo (17.2 × 10.6 cm). Contemporary paper-covered boards; gilt-tooled red leather spine label; [VI], 122 pp. Boards lightly worn; title stained; else very good.

First and only edition of this rare work on the cultural, medical, and legal history of the kiss. The anonymous author writes with verve and great irony, while also drawing on relevant medical literature, classical mythology, and recent poetry and prose. Among the topics covered are the physiology underlying the pleasant kissing sounds; profane versus spiritual or mystical kisses; different kissing habits among the Italian, French, German, Jews, Persians, Russians, Turks and other peoples. Perhaps most interestingly, the final chapters discuss a woman’s right to reject unwanted kisses from a man; how to tell a man’s intentions during kissing; and, finally, whether a woman is justified in slapping an intrusive kisser (yes, but not with her fist). The author also argues that two men may kiss, because kisses are not only expressions of love. A humorous, yet insightful source on the cultural history of kissing. We can only trace one similar but slightly later German monograph, Der Kuss und das Küssen (Leipzig, 1826).

KVK, OCLC only show the copies at Bayerische Staatsbibliothek and Strasbourg.

Book ID: P5931

Price: $2,750.00