John Hotten


John Hotten (1832-1873) was working for a bookseller, and was, by all descriptions, a rather promising young man. Until, one day, Macaulay appeared in the shop, beat him with a quarto volume for not handing over change fast enough, which apparently ruined poor John’s mind forever, and he was turned from a path of righteousness towards a path of filth. Or some such.

Later, Hotten went to America for a while, but then opened a bookshop in London in 1856.


“I shall go and tend to my flower garden now, my pet. And lest you think that makes me less manly, when I say flowers, I really mean…”
“Boobies. You really mean boobies. God, I know John. I know. It’s hard not to.”
Well, actually, he meant porn. But he also had these flowers.

Just because you know 375 metaphors for penis doesn’t mean you have to use all of them in daily conversation, John. Gosh. Some people.



He founded an eventually quite successful publishing house, wrote several books himself (including a dictionary of slang and a number of biographies) as well as publishing, among more respectable titles, a large number of pornographic texts and plates, his “flower garden.”
Possible causes of death included: too much porn, brain fever, and, my personal favourite, “a surfeit of pork chops.”


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