SEX AND THE FLOATING WORLD: Erotic Images in Japan 1700-1820, by Timon Screech. London: Reaktion Books, 1999, 320 pp., 156 illustrations, 36 color, 16.95 British pounds.

Though there has been much scholarly research of the ukiyo-e, woodblock prints from premodern Japan, one sizable genre within this field has been notoriously neglected. This is the “shunga,” the so-called spring pictures that were always erotic and, as this seminal study proves, often pornographic as well.

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