Lore was first published in 1908 as Durchtolle Nächte, durchjubelte Tage: Der Roman einer Berliner Lebedame (Amazing Nights, Wonderful Days: The Narrative of a Berlin Courtisan), and its author – Richard Werther is a pseudonym – is the same Ernst Klein as penned James Grunert. Like James Grunert, Lore was a commission from the well-known Berlin clandestine publisher Willy Schindler, and both books did extremely well for both author and publisher. Lore was resissued in 1918 as Lore: Das Liebesleben einer kleinen Berlinerin (Lore: The Love Life of a Little Berliner) and in 1921 as Liebesnächte: Geständnisse einer Berliner Fanny Hill (Nights of Love: The Confessions of a Berlin Fanny Hill).
It has to be said that Lore is a great read, fast-paced and quite believable – Klein certainly knew what he was writing about, and clearly empathised with Lore, in many ways his female alter ego. As Leon Gaston writes in the afterword to this edition, ‘Here is one of the rare books that allows the full delights of an erotic shudder to graze your skin without ever having the feeling of reading something offensive. Every scene arouses resonances that are absolutely pure. The plot develops as logically as the individual episodes in Lore’s life pass by, consistent in their consequences yet as unpredictable as each fork in the road. This is not a loose sequence of anecdotal incidents, but a unified plot that forces the reader to put the book down only after the last page. The dance of the men around the golden calf of woman has seldom been brought to life in such a fascinating way as in this book.’ Unfortunately it seems that Klein’s erotic novels have never been translated; a missed opportunity.
Charroux is in his element with the line illustrations to Lore, and much more at home with the 1900s than the 1780s.