Victorian Sex: My Secret Life (Part 3)

Where to find Walter on the Web

So, where can you find My Secret Life on the Internet?

Digital Text Editions

My Secret Life By Anonymous Victorian “Walter” (Full Text eBook)
This is the first MSL site I discovered, many years ago. The search in the upper right is a very useful feature, since it retrieves a list of results (versus doing a hunt-and-peck “find next”). [UPDATE: The original site has been archived, so the text is no longer searchable.] There is also an option to purchase the full text in a “giant single volume compendium” in paperback or hardback, or as a downloadable pdf. The print versions are sold through Lulu, a print-on-demand/self-publishing publisher. I bought the hardback a few years ago and it is a massive tome! So be forewarned: the paperback version might possibly be a bit unwieldy.

Free Info Society
This site seems to be no longer active(?) but they have a pdf version of MSL which runs 1173 pages. The index page is here and includes a full text pdf which can be downloaded from your browser onto your computer. This is the version I reference in my Victorian Sex Part 1 and Part 2 blog posts.

The Jack Horntip Collection
This folklore website has some very interesting items including university and drinking songs. The index page to MSL has images of all 11 covers. Click on a cover to get the OCR text of each volume. For each volume, there is an option to download the PDF of the scanned pages.

iTunes Apple Books
Unbelievably, MSL is available for purchase on iTunes Apple Books. Why “unbelievably”? Because Apple and iTunes are notorious for censorship (also, here and here). So, get it while you can for your iOS device: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch with iBooks, or your computer with iTunes.

MSL is complete only through Chapter 9 of Volume 1. Anyone want to help them out? [UPDATE: the transcription seems to be mostly complete!]

Global Grey
Has pdf, epub, and mobi files of MSL available for download. The site states: “This book has 1,450 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1888.” Julie, who runs the site, would appreciate a donation if you download.

Project Gutenberg
Also only offers an incomplete version, My Secret Life, Volumes I. to III. by Anonymous. Multiple file types are available: HTML, EPUB, Kindle, Plucker, QiOO Mobile, and Plain Text UTF-8.

Google Books
Full text from Harvard College Library (yes, that Harvard), with download options for EPUB, pdf, and plain text:
Volume 1 (copy number 353)
Volume 2
Volume 3
Preview only editions, meaning you can browse only some of the text, which are also available for purchase as ebooks from Google:
Signet Classics edition, abridged version of all 11 volumes, with a scholarly introduction and afterword
HarperCollins edition (Volumes 1 through 3)

The Audiobook

My Secret Life – The Audiofilm – Pictures in words and music
Not interested in the one-handed reading experience of a printed book? Want to avoid e-reader eye strain? Would you rather listen to MSL being read to you by a man with a deep, sultry voice and a British accent accompanied by the evocative swells and crescendos of a small, intimate ensemble? Of course you would.

From the site: “Film composer Dominic Crawford Collins has embarked on a mission to release a fully scored audiobook of the entire unabridged work. Each chapter of ‘My Secret Life’ will be released at monthly intervals over the next ten or so years, culminating in a unique collection and what is likely to become the longest audiobook ever to be produced.” Each chapter is between 45 to 65 minutes long, with the completed audiobook expected to be over 160 hours of continuous listening.

Simply put: Awesome.

The audiobook is available for purchase as MP3 files or CDs. “Tasters” are available on the site. I’ve listened to Volume 1, Chapter 3, and can tell you it is a lush, sensual auditory experience.

UPDATE: That’s Dominic himself narrating the audiobook and playing the piano. Check out his YouTube channel.

Bibliographies of Printed Books

The Erotica Bibliophile
This erotica history site by Sheryl Straight has a 2003 bibliography of English and French Editions which covers editions published between c.1890 and 1967.

My Secret Life Project: A study of the historic Victorian Erotica Novel 
I don’t know who this scholar is, but this is the wiki site for her/his “academic project, an interdisciplinary study (bibliography/history of text/digital humanities) of the infamous Victorian erotica novel, My Secret Life.”
There are two bibliographic essays:
Publishing History, pre-1966
Enumerative Bibliography

Have I missed anything? Let me know in the (moderated) comments!

Victorian Sex: My Secret Life (Part 1)
Victorian Sex: My Secret Life (Part 2)
Victorian Sex: My Secret Life (Part 3)

2 thoughts on “Victorian Sex: My Secret Life (Part 3)

  1. Hi Regina,

    are you familiar with Peter Mendes research relating to MSL?

    Clandestine erotic fiction in English, 1800-1930 : a bibliographical study

    thanks so much for feature on me, great praise! all the best Dominic

    • Ooh, thanks for the citation, Dominic. I did not know about the Mendes book. Looks to be very interesting and useful!

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