The Cambridge Companion to Erotic Literature offers an introduction to key debates in the study of erotic literature from antiquity to the present. It addresses one of the longest standing controversies in literary history: the boundary between acceptable and unacceptable treatments of human sexuality. Whether scurrilous Roman satire, irreverent Restoration drama, or bold Modernist novel, erotic literature pushes the boundaries of the acceptable and challenges the conventions of more mainstream literatures. In fifteen chapters that range from ancient Greece and Rome to twentieth-century American, English, French, and Dutch literature, experts in the field confront a variety of related topics, such as the definition and scope of erotic literature, the nature of textual pleasure, historical shifts in the understanding of the normal and the perverse, the relationship between gender and genre, sexual violence, homosexuality, sadomasochism, necrophilia, satire, pornography, etc. Students new to the scholarship are provided with a clear and useful introduction; those already familiar with the field are given an exciting glimpse into the most recent work.