‘Quintessence of Debauchery’

Auction houses love to hype items in their catalogs, and the most recent illustration comes with this claim made by Sotheby’s, to have the world’s “first known piece of printed pornography” available for auction next month.

“Sodom”, penned in the mid-1670s, has been attributed to John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester and is described by auction house Sotheby’s as a “closet drama rather than for the stage” with pornography “in almost every line”.
“We believe this is the first printed pornography in English literature, a unique copy of the quintessence of debauchery,” Peter Beal, Sotheby’s book specialist said.

At least the book specialist restricts his claim to English literature, but that hasn’t stopped the Reuters writer.