The Story of O deeply erotic precisely because the woman at the centre of it holds all the power, even though she seems the one most cruelly treated. Also the book is beautifully and tenderly written, in its odd way. Someone with a decent prose style should do a proper translation of it.
Geoff DyerMy favourite scene is the seduction in dialogue in The Names by Don DeLillo – but then my favourite everything is in that book. Is the scene erotic? Yes, in a meta-sort of way, but mainly it's incredibly intoxicating. It begins with the narrator, James, and some friends at a club in Athens, watching a belly dancer named Janet Ruffing. After the performance she changes into a cardigan and comes to sit with the group. James proceeds to ease his way into her consciousness so that "a curious intimacy" is formed. After some polite exchanges he asks her to "say belly. I want to watch your lips." Then it's, "Say breasts. Say tongue." The conversation spirals on for pages, Janet insisting "I don't do this" while getting drawn deeper into the giddy linguistic spiral. "Say heat," says James. "Say wet between my legs. Say legs. Seriously, I want you to. Stockings. Whisper it. The word is meant to be whispered."
Persuasion in which Captain Wentworth wordlessly, and with none of their past grievous history resolved, assists a fatigued Anne Elliot into a carriage. There is no overt sexuality, no titillatory play with power and dependence - he helps her in and that's that. "Yes - he had done it. She was in the carriage and felt that he had placed her there, that his will and his hands had done it." Anne might tell herself that the kindness proceeds from what remains of "former sentiment", but Wentworth's hands have been on her body, and we never doubt that it's her body that receives the shock of the contact as much as her mind.
More writers tell, plus loads of interesting views/comments from readers, all at The Guardian...........