He achieved instant notoriety with Aphrodite and The Songs of Bilitis, but it was only after his death that Louÿs' true legacy was to be discovered: nearly 900 pounds of erotic manuscripts were found in his home, all of them immediately scattered among collectors and many subsequently lost. Since then, it has become clear that Louÿs is the greatest French writer of erotica there ever was.
The Young Girl's Handbook of Good Manners was the first of his erotic manuscripts to see publication, and it also remains his most outrageous—an erotic classic in which humor takes precedence over arousal. By means of shockingly filthy advice—ostensibly offered “for use in educational establishments”—couched in a hilariously parodic admonitory tone, Louÿs turns late-nineteenth-century manners roundly on their head, with ass prominently skyward. Whether offering rules for etiquette in church, school or home, or outlining a girl's duties toward family, neighbor or God, Louÿs manages to mock every institution and leave no taboo unsullied.
The Young Girl's Handbook of Good Manners has only grown more scandalous and subversive since its first appearance in 1926.