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333 333 Erotica: The Young Girl and the Dough Kneader, from alT īfāshī’s The Old Man’s Rejuvenation1091 The Egyptian writer al-Tīfāshī (580/1184–651/1253) is famous for his work on mineralogy and precious stones, Azhār al-afkār fī jawāhir al-aḥjār, and infamous for his erotological work Rujūʿ al-shaykh ilā ṣibāh fī l-quwwah ʿalā l-bāh (The Old Man’s Rejuvenation in His Powers of Copulation). Most of it is concerned with aphrodisiaca: endless lists of recipes and recommendations to enhance one’s sexual prowess and both sexes’ enjoyment of sex, and descriptions of sexual techniques, without any literary elements. However, the author also includes a chapter with stories. They are obviously meant to entertain, but their purpose is practical, not literary: like the recipes, their function is to stimulate sexual appetite. There are no feeble excuses of literary pretensions here: the author merely wants to titillate. Indeed, the sixteenth -century physician Dāwūd al-Anṭākī recommends, in a discussion of sexual stimulants, “reading poems and stories such as are found in The Intelligent Man’s Direction and The Old Man’s Rejuvenation in His Powers of Copulation …”1092 Ten monologues by women, apparently prostitutes of a superior kind, are embedded in a frame story in which a vizier intends to demonstrate that women’s sexual appetites are inexhaustible and exceed those of men (the choice of accomplished prostitutes no doubt prejudiced the outcome). The last and longest of these ten tales is translated here. By comparison with other tales in the book it is only moderately pornographic. The text should not be regarded as an early ego-document about a woman’s experience, as it was doubtless written by a man. The translation to some extent imitates the traditional Arabic layout in manuscripts and early printed texts (and the edition used here), without punctuation and capital letters (apart from the pronoun I). This is also intended to simulate the girl’s breathless monologue; but it is a far cry from Molly Bloom. The male in the story would be imprisoned as a pedophile today, but at least the sex is described as consensual. 334 334 334 334 Prose The tenth girl came forward and said: I’ve been a prostitute from my early days the fact is my father was a baker and we had a servant in the bakery who kneaded the dough he had a big body like an elephant but good-looking I was ten years old at the time I knew nothing of fucking I didn’t know about the pleasures of sex I used to go into the bakery and leave with that dough kneader because I liked him for his sweet looks and whenever I left I saw him following me with his eyes and moaning heavily which made me love him even more but I didn’t know what he wanted because in those days I had not yet reached puberty and had no knowledge of the joys of intercourse almost everyday he would make a piece of pastry for me with real butter bake it and give it to me to eat and I liked him more every day because I saw that he grew ever more affectionate toward me and was nice to me and welcomed me when I visited the bakery when the others weren’t there so I followed him in the bakery wherever he went and I would joke with him and ride on his back and he would tolerate everything I did now one day he came into the room where the fuel was stored and he saw that I was alone with him for all the other servants in the bakery were absent then he came toward me and took me gently with both his hands and pressed me to his breast and began to kiss my cheeks and my neck and I did the same to him because I loved him so and he was so dear to my heart I thought he only did it because he loved me so much then we left the storeroom and I went home while he stayed in the bakery as usual and afterwards whenever he found the bakery empty of people he’d do the same as before pressing me to him embracing me kissing me sucking my lips until my cheeks and lips were almost bleeding I...


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