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Forbidden Pages: Books Of Illicit Love Thrill, Delight

by William Coles
Jun 1, 2009 (All Things Considered)

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Heloise & Abelard Portnoy's Complaint The Well of Loneliness

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In all the love stories ever told, has there ever been such a recipe for disaster as in the tale of illicit love? Beginning 3,000 years ago, when Zeus, the married King of the Gods, was gallivanting with all his many mistresses, the message was clear: Unconventional trysts are destined to end badly for all concerned.

But how brightly these love affairs burn during their short span! Heroes become spies as they plot their next tryst, and brief encounters take on this huge intensity, where every moment is lapped up in haste and savored for eternity.

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William Coles is the author of Prelude, a novel about a teenager who has an affair with his piano teacher.

'Heloise & Abelard'

Heloise & Abelard: A New Biography, by James Burge, paperback, 352 pages

'Portnoy's Complaint'

Portnoy's Complaint, by Philip Roth, paperback, 304 pages

'The Well Of Loneliness'

The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall, paperback, 448 pages

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