What critics have said about it

"Admirably serious", "The Encyclopedia of Erotic Literature takes one into some relatively unfamiliar sexual territories -Japanese, Chinese, Arab, Zulu, Thai and Catalan. (...) This is an exceedingly serious work of reference and, despite the occasional burst of postmodern pretension, the general quality of the entries is high. The thematic subjects have been intelligently chosen." R. Irwin, Times Literary Supplement (London, Feb. 8, 2008).

"Finally, the first world encyclopedia of erotic literature is coming; for those who love the subject and want to know all about it. Six years' work, 540 entries, 400 contributors, 20 consultants from the best universities from around the world.  The result: The Encyclopedia of Erotic Literature (Routledge, 350$), the first "Who's Who" entirely dedicated to sex in literature."  Babcok, Mila Esther. "Variazioni Poetiche." Gentleman Quarterly - Italy
Feb. 2007, p. 267. English translation from the Italian by Adele Bennett.

"It's hard to believe this has never been done, but here it is, six years in the making, with 546 entries from 400 contributors, covering erotica from every nook and cranny of the world. The delight of the two-volume masterwork is not in the usual suspects but entries such as those on linguist Gershon Legman (master of the dirty joke), the use of furniture in erotic fiction (the money shot is its collapse) and Charles Fourier, who before his death in 1837 predicted that orgies would someday consist of sex combined with art -- an idea so radical it was kept out of print until 1966. The volumes make for great bedtime reading, but they are heavy, so you'll need both hands." Chip Rowe, Playboy Internet, posted since July 2008.

"The 546 entries are the work of over 400 scholars. The introduction attempts to seek clarity in the debate between what constitutes the erotic, the pornographic, and the obscene. In the end, the editors opt sensibly for an approach that includes any work in which ‘sex talk’ is the dominant discourse. There are four categories of entry: (a) individual listings for writers and for some single works; (b) historical overviews (by language, geography, or cultural area); (c) literary surveys (e.g. addressing genres); and (d) topics and themes (e.g. necrophilia). A 104-oage index is a sophisticated navigation tool, and two tables of contents, alphabetical and thematic, are printed helpfully, like the index in each volume.
Some of the best author entries are honed to focus specifically on the erotic contributions of writers of wider sweep, such as the essay on Apollinaire with its satisfying mix of example and analysis, and the entry on Edith Wharton, devoted to the incest theme in Beatrice Pamlato. An unsolemn, fun-loving text on Philip Roth reminds us of the mayhem created by Portnoy’s Complaint and its sequel. The entry on Jean Lorrain is unsparing but fair.
Even more stimulating contributions address not individuals but specific subject areas. Joseph Slade III creates an irreplaceable research tool in his essay on library collections. Alongside references to the Private Case (which has its own entry) of the British Library and the holdings of the Kinsey Institute, Slade cites dozens of bibliographies and lesser-known collections, such as the 31,500 works related to gays and lesbians in Brown University’s Katzoff Collection. An entry on Furniture charts the movement of sexual trysts from sofa and divan to the modern-day bed. The canon receives ample treatment, but more edgy topics and authors receive their due, viz. the entry on mangas, yaoi, slash fiction, Kathy Acker, Ludia Lunch. There are 48 entries on Spanish-language authors and topics, 10 on German subjects, over 25 on Chinese literature, and 14 on Japanese, plus useful overviews of Japanese erotic writing covering medieval times to the twenty-first century.
Scores of factoids emerge. Who knew that the best-known author of German erotic literature, Felix Salten, wrote the Bambi story used in Walt Disney’s film, or that Ben Franklin penned a raunchy letter of advice on choosing a mistress in which he counselled bedding older women? One also encounters amusing eccentricities (…)”
Michael R. Finn, Modern Language Review 103.3 (July 2008): 820-821.

“Editors Brulotte and Philipps (…) remark than many of the 546 signed scholarly essays –written by university professors and independent researchers from around the world- relate to literature in French because French writers have contributed most to the erotic genre. (…) Geared toward a sophisticated audience, this work, while accessible, is most appropriate for scholars. Recommended for academic libraries.”  Jennifer L. Lack. U.S. News and World Report (Washington, DC). Repr. In Library Journal, fév 2007, 147-148.

“With  the  Encyclopedia  of  Erotic  Literature (2006,  1579584411,  $350)  Routledge  has published a serious, scholarly work that focuses on  an  absorbing  topic  that  has  been  neglected in  the  reference  literature.      Edited  by  Gaetan Brulotte  and  John  Phillips,  these  two  volumes  contain  more  than  500  signed  articles authored  by  some  400  contributors.    The  essays  range  from  shorter  entries  of  1,000  words to  expansive  articles  of  8,000  words.    While the  arrangement  is  alphabetical,  the  editors divide  the  articles  into  four  broad  categories; historical  overviews,  topics  and  themes,  literary  surveys  and  writers  and  works.    And  to reinforce  and  supplement  this  overall  “conceptual  framework,”  they  provide  a  thematic table  of  contents that gives the reader additional breakdowns by country and language. (…) Overall, the articles in this set are impressive. They  are  thoughtful  and  well  researched  and  a number having substantial bibliographies. The Encyclopedia  of  Erotic  Literature merits  addition  to  serious  literature  collections.  It  provides  information  on  specific  topics,  as well  as  conveys  the  fact  that  erotic  literature spans  multiple  cultures  and  eras.  With  this work,  editors  Brulotte  and  Phillips  provide a  rich  and  necessary  academic  reference  for interested students and scholars.”  Gilson, Thomas (2007) "From the Reference Desk," Against the Grain: Vol. 19: Iss. 2, Article 26. DOI: This document has been made available through Purdue e-Pubs, a service of the Purdue University Libraries. Please contact for additional information.