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Michael Blowhard once challenged CH and readers to look at what the great writers in the Western literary tradition had to say about courtship. Many responded.

Alas, it is not God’s plenty. A man who relies on literature for his models can easily get swept away by the glorious pedestalizing.

Ovid’s seduction manual, The Art of Love, is pretty uneven in its advice. Stendhal’s On Love is pretty good. Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier is a good manual for how to be an overall attractive man. (Both were used to good effect by Robert Greene in The Art of Seduction.) Moliere shows what not to do in The Misanthrope, as does Flaubert in Madame Bovary. Byron has some scattered good thoughts. Burke, from a more traditionalist perspective, has some profound thoughts on masculinity and femininity. I’ve never read Casanova’s memoirs so I cannot tell you how good they are as literature or as pickup advice. I haven’t read Laclos’ Dangerous Liasons either. It’s been a long, long time since I read Richardson’s Clarissa, with its famous seducer Lovelace. Freud expounds nicely on female narcissism.

I’d also throw in How to be the Jerk Women Love by F.J. Shark (truly a great classic in the annals of lit-ra-choor), Nine and a Half Weeks by Elizabeth McNeill, and Story of O by Pauline Reage. Even pulp romance novels, however hackish, can be helpful to your learned pursuit of utterly dominating a woman’s will and heart. As with the last two book recommendations, female authors will invariably reveal their pulsing erotic ids through their characters. The trick to reading romantic literature written by a woman is to pay attention to what TURNS ON the female character. Not what the character claims to want in a hypothetical boyfriend or husband, but what she specifically describes that got her tingling like a Van de Graaff generator. Editorial commentary can be ignored, because the prerequisite for becoming any woman’s ideal lover is to first become her actual lover.

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