hardThe eight obscene plays in this collection are notable examples of French erotic theatre from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The first series of five plays comes from the two-volume Le Théâtre gaillard, revu et augmenté, 1776–1865 (Bawdy Theatre, revised and expanded, 1776–1865): from volume one, the three-act comedy, The Bordello, and the three-act verse tragedy, Vasta, Queen of Bordelleo; from volume two, the one-act verse tragedy, The New Messaline, the free-verse three-act comedy, The Pleasures of the Cloister, and the one-act vaudeville (with songs), The Intrigue at the Brothel. The remaining plays were found in Le Théâtre Erotique de la rue de la Santé: son histoire (The Erotic Theatre in the street called la Santé: its story) (1864–1866): the three-act vaudeville, Dollar Sign, the comedy of manners, The Games of Love and the Marketplace, and the one-act comedy, The Grisette and the Student. These three plays and Vasta are the only works in this collection that appear to have been performed, and production details are included with the translations of the plays. The four other dramatic pieces, though intended for performance, were not produced (for reasons that will become apparent when reading the plays). Obscene plays offer an unapologetically coarse commodification of sex, though the reader will find that in several cases, the author found it necessary to defend his work by way of an apologetic introduction, or by distancing himself from the claims of authorship. Whatever the case, the social and sexual mores of France between 1730 and 1865 are inherently reflected in the sexual discourse of every play.