Jim Edmonson from the Dittrick Medical History Center Cleveland, US, shared a beautiful post on his blog about a rare booklet from the 1830s titled “Le Livre Sans Titre” (the book without a title). The document, over 200 year old, shows the side effects and extreme implications of the onanism practices which lead a healthy young man to a progressive decline which terminates with his own death.

Back then, masturbation was seen by moralists and doctors the same way as a disease which could drive their supporters to an early death. The topic was so taboo to the extent that the book had been written “untitled”. Any sort of reference to onanistic practices was severely forbidden by the society of that time.

Below: the Book Cover

Below: the frontispiece

Below: the tagline goes “He was young and beautiful, he was mother’s hope”

Below: …”he got corrupted! he soon got the ache from his own mistake, by growing old ahead of time…his back bent over”

Below: …”A fiery flame burns his guts; he suffers from a horrific stomach ache”

Below: …”Look at his eyes, once so pure, so bright; they switched off! a stripe of fire now surrounds them”

Below: …”He cannot walk now, his legs give in”

Below: …”His hidden dreams disturb his sleep. He cannot rest”

Below:…”his teeth rot and fall”

Below:…”his chest gets inflamed (burns). He coughs up blood”

Below: …” his hair, once so beautiful, falls down as if he was an old man; his head undresses itself before time”

Below: …”he is hungry, he would like to feed himself, but food does not want to stay in his stomach…”

Below: …”his chest collapses, he vomits blood”

Below: …”all his body gets covered up by pustules…it is terrible to be looked at”

Below: …” a slow fever consumes him, he lies listlessly. His body burns all around”

Below: …”His body stiffens…his limbs stop moving…”

Below: …”He talks nonsense, he tenses up against the death; the death is stronger”

Below: …”At the age of 17 he perishes and through orrible torments!”


Matteo Rubboli

I am a publisher specialised in the digital distribution of culture and founder of the portal Vanilla Magazine. I don't wear a tie or branded clothes, I keep my hair short so I don't have to comb it. That's not my fault but just the way I've been drawn as...

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