making an incognito visit.
There's an additional pleasure to reading if you're gaining some incidental knowledge while you enjoy a story. Many a key historical detail have I picked up from Asterix books, such as the important fact that if Cleopatra's nose had been a different shape it would have changed the entire course of history.
In erotica and romance, the enjoyment of learning can be even further enhanced when what we're learning about are epicurean pleasures of luxury items. Clever deployment of the names of dress designers, wines and posh restaurants can suggest the kind of character someone has as well as an atmosphere of decadence and sophistication. One such character who is supremely well depicted (although he's not from erotic fiction) is Dorothy L. Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey. Sayers tells us not only that he's from Eton and Oxford but which Oxford college and what delicacy the kitchens there produce (meringues). Lord Peter is defined by his bibliophilia and extensive knowledge of fine wine - all of which is so beautifully accurately recounted by Sayers that I once got an assistant in the Selfridges wine department virtually on his knees with pleasure simply by asking for a wine I'd read about in a Sayers book. (He wasn't quite so impressed when I realised there was no way I could afford it!)
Another character expertly delineated through his taste for the good life is Ian Fleming's James Bond. He drinks vodka martinis "shaken not stirred", drives an Aston Martin, shoots with a Walther PPK and is always faultlessly well dressed in bespoke suits from Savile Row.
|A wine label from the |
Domaine de la Romanee Conti
(most expensive wine)
I thought it might help if I drew on some of my misbegotten knowledge of these matters and wrote up a set of posts on wines, fast cars and perfumes. I'll see if I can get some guest bloggers to do some of the topics, that'll be more fun.
|Image © Naoko Smith|