epub The Confessions of Victor X

Book description

This is a very dodgy document. The first sentence is :

These are the sexual confessions of a southern Russian born about 1870, of good family, educated and capable, like many Russians, of psychological analysis; he prepared this confession in French in 1912.

Victor X is referring to himself in the third person here, by the way. It confused me at first. Anyway, the story is that the famous sex researcher Havelock Ellis was preparing yet another volume of his Studies in the Psychology of Sex, and Victor wrote his confession for possible inclusion, as a case history.Mr Ellis' American editors told him not to publish it, in no uncertain terms. But the French edition's editors had no such qualms – mais naturellement – so it went in as a hardly-ever-read appendix, to be finally rendered into English in 1980 by Donald Rayfield, professor of Russian at the University of London.The professor stumbled over these confessions in the British Library in London and his brain exploded and he " translated them on the spot".
So what's the big deal here?

Well, in the first 84 pages ,Victor describes his early life around Kiev, Ukraine,between the ages of 3 and 19.So now imagine if you will an entire country where parents just don't care what their kids do. They're just not interested. As long as you don't cavort naked on the breakfast table, you can do what you please with whom. What about all the illegitimate babies which will inevitably result? Pshaw, in Russia these things are no problem – they do not go in for this Catholic guilt trip the rest of Europe likes to wallow in. Victor's family knows a woman who's had four children with four different men and is still unmarried. It is no problem. She is not shunned, she's just a little different than most. No problem. Another vodka. Thank you, yes please.

So Victor meets shagadelic babe after shagadelic babe and by the age of 19 there is little he hasn't done at least twice.Typical Victor description:

They were strong females, marvellously strapping, and exuded health and animal vitality. They had red cheeks, enormous behinds, firm jutting breasts, legs like Doric columns, muscular, powerful vulvas.

Powerful what??

So then, age 19, Victor goes to University in Milan, and the shutters – bang! – come dowm. No more rumpy pumpy for Victor.

From the moment I left Kiev I lived a life of abstinence. I still felt erotic urges but unlike what I expected, I could find no way of satisfying them… Generally, young girls are not so free to move about in Italy as in Russia; they only go out in their mother's company and never entertain gentlemen alone… I could pursue a girl only if I had "honourable intentions"…"And people say the Italians are so passionate!" I said to myself withastonishment

That being the case one may have thought Victor would have recourse to prostitutes but he was very afraid of venereal disease, and he didn't have the cash needed to keep a mistress, so he switched from promiscuity to celibacy.

I lived in absolute chastity from twenty to thirty-two. At first I found absitnence a burden; afterwards I got used to it and thought no more of women. My eleven years of chastity were the happiest, or rather the least unhappy, of my life.

Then things took a turn for the worse. He met a nice young lady of 27 and intended to marry her, and they were engaged.Now working as an engineer, he gets sent to Naples.Which, it turns out, was one giant brothel.

Families who are not badly off…traffic in their prepubescent girls…The Neapolotans are a very practical lot indeed : they make their money every way they can except by working.

A pimp offers him two girls, aged 15 and 11, at the same time.He's introduced to the girls' mother who agrees the price.He tells himself these girls have already been thoroughly corrupted.Two pages of description follows. Then he gets the taste for little girls.

I soon got to know other "honourable" families with little girls of ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen who were likewise virgins and as expert as the first two

The deal was that these children would do anything you like which didn't require penetration. You could (of course) buy their virginities but the price was sky high. In time he starts up with an adult prostitute, she gives him gonorrhoea, he has to keep putting off his marriage because of that, and his fiancee runs out of patience and dumps him.But alas, the sexual obsession with very young girls does not leave him. He moves to Spain, there are no further paedophilic episodes, he becomes a voyeur, just another dirty old man.

One may be forgiven in wondering if Victor was just making all this stuff up. Professor Rayfield did his homework and figured out who Victor was, and so verified at least the verifiable in his confession – that he did live here and there, and he did study at the University of Turin, not Milan, etc. Long story short, the professor believes Victor.

Vladimir Nobokov published Conclusive Evidence, his memoir, in 1951, and refers to Victor's confessions ruefully :

Our innocence now seems almost monstrous to me, in the light of various confessions for those years cited by Havelock Ellis… from [the Ukraine] there comes a particularly Babylonian contribution

Professor Rayfield discusses VN's story The Magician and comments

Victor's confessions provided the final push in the birth of Lolita's central theme

I can't say I'm convinced by this, but I'll give Prof Rayfield his say – admitting Victor's complete lack of any sense of humour or
irony, yet he finds similarities between Victor and Humbert Humbert :

The immense culture and the exhibitionist pedantry, the fastidiousness and snobbery, the inability to align himself with any nationality – a fatal cosmopolitalism… an ability to watch himself in action, to record the minutest detail and to savour and dwell on until the recollection becomes more exciting than the act… Victor writing for Havelock Ellis, like Humbert Humbert writing for the gentlemen of the jury, relishes his superior intelligence, his self-assurance that what he has to tell his audience will surpass anything in their experience and leave them dumbfounded.

Yes, that I agree with. This book left me dumbfounded.

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Book info

PublisherGrove Press
Release date 01.01.1985
Pages count143
File size4 Mb
eBook formatHardcover, (torrent)En
Book rating4.58 (8 votes)
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