Deuxmers Publishing, ISBN 978-1944521097
Softcover, 222 pages, 6.69 in. x 9.61 in.

“Siegel is a conjurer and a tease, a connoisseur of language and a great fan and purveyor of entertainment…” — Booklist starred review

Typerotica is a hilariously comedic and poignantly nostalgic portrait of an aspiring artist as a young man.

Consisting of the typed manuscripts of two love stories—QWERTYUIOP and AZERTYUIOP—it illustrates an analogy: typing was once to literature what sex is to love.

As a fifteen-year old, Lee Siegel is dazzled by a then contraband copy of Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, and decides that he must become a writer. He imagines that in order to do that he needs to learn how to type and then go to Paris to drink French wine, smoke French cigarettes, and have sex with French women. Imagining, furthermore, that in order to become a writer of compelling literature he needs to learn how to type, he enrolls in a typing class at a secretarial college in Los Angeles and falls in love with the typing teacher.

The two stories are framed by nonfictional introductions and annotations, including a true account of the author’s friendship with Henry Miller.

Lee Siegel, Emeritus Professor of Religion at the University of Hawaii, has published eight novels, four non-fiction books, and a translation of Sanskrit love poetry. Siegel’s writing has earned him a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, two Residency awards at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, a Visiting Fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford, and the Elliot Cades Award for Literature.

“Siegel ardently caresses words, relishes their sound and appear­ance on the page … deserves space on the short, high shelf of literary wonders.” — New York Times Book Review

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Set in the early 1960s, the novel [Typerotica] nostalgically evokes that period when it was actually illegal to read authors like Henry Miller—who plays a large role here—and for that reason was thrilling and liberating for some readers.

Unfortunately, as Siegel notes in his mournful introduction, that earlier Puritan revulsion at frank depictions of sex seems to be making a comeback in politically correct/woke culture. Healthy, joyous, even silly depictions of sexual allure are now subjected to ludicrous sociopolitical theorizing, and subject to cancellation.

But don’t let that prevent you from reading this handsomely produced book. “Don’t be such a prude,” the narrator’s French lover tells him. “Don’t be so puritanically American.” from a review by Steven Moore

Photo: Richard Polt

Acclaim for Lee Siegel's Books

“Now along comes Lee Siegel, who mixes a bit of Borges with some Nabokov and then adds an erotic gloss … pulled off with such unhinged élan by Mr. Siegel that it is also plain good fun, a clever, literate satire in which almost everything is both travestied and, strangely, loved by its author.” — The New York Times

“Funny, sexy, and surprisingly affecting.” — Booklist

“Siegel’s multilayer approach … can be taken as lightly or se­riously as the reader wishes. Read it for its sharply funny attack on reality-impaired scholars … or read it as a serious commentary on lust, love, intellectualism, the illusion of culture, and the culture of illusion.” — Austin Chronicle

“Siegel’s work stands out as a book that is not simply a novel but its own genus of rollicking, narrative scholarship … it is just the cerebral aphrodisiac we need.” — Salon

“Immensely clever and libidinously hilarious … bawdily intel­lectual pleasures and ludic stylistic features of this unique hypernarrative.” — Washington Post Book World

“The scope of Siegel’s erudition and humour makes his kalei­doscopic novel a most satisfying read.” — Financial Times

“Siegel’s novel succeeds because of its consistently funny, over-the-top prose.” — Toronto Globe and Mail

“While this ribald romp, satire on Westerners’ spiritual hunger, and sendup of academia may prove too rarefied and serpentine for some tastes, others will find it a sophisticated treat.” — Publishers Weekly

“A work of brilliance and originality that is both intellectually stimulating and hysterically funny … work that will delight anyone who cares about love … or the pleasures of language.” — Far Eastern Economic Review

“I felt like a balloon, tapped again and again into the air of laughter by the gentle, knowing hand of the author. A very, very funny book, a devastating satire.” — Wendy Doniger

“Siegel combines … themes with a savvy knowledge of pop culture … a wildly comic tale of romance and intrigue.” — National & Financial Post

“As a comic exploration of the multiple and varied ways that cultural languages create and distort romantic love, Mr. Siegel’s book may be without parallel. It is both wildly innovative and an aesthetic pleasure to read.” — Jeffery Paine

“Siegel spins a spiral disc of fascinating histories, captivating memoir, and mesmeric metafictions.” — Eliot Weinberger

“Siegel is adept at lacing outrageous storytelling with shrewd observations and exuberantly erudite eroticism as he celebrates and mocks humankind’s seemingly endless capacity for make-believe, chicanery, tomfoolery, adventure, and, yes, love.” — Booklist, starred review

Excerpts from Typerotica

The following excerpts are from the pages of Typerotica:

Cover page for QWERTYUIOP
(designed and created by the author)
Cover page for AZERTYUIOP
(designed and created by the author)
Original manuscript for QWERTYUIOP typed by the authorthe opening and the end page
Original manuscript for AZERTYUIOP typed by the authorthe opening and the end page
An AP photo from the wedding of Miller and Tokuda where the author appears in the background, and an excerpt from the annotations in the book:

An AP wire photo that appeared in the Los Angeles Times was taken on the occasion of the 1967 wedding of “Author Henry Miller, 75, and Hoki Tokuda, 28, a Japanese pianist and vocalist at the home of a friend in Beverly Hills,” my parents’ home, the home where Henry first met Hoki, and the home in the basement of which I found the copy of QWERTYUIOP.

I appear in the background of the photo in which a thoroughly enamored Henry is grinning with characteristic delight. After the photo was taken, Hoki set down the plate of her wedding cake and announced that she was leaving. She had a date to play mahjong. 

The original letter written to the author by Henry Miller,
and an excerpt from the annotations in the book:

Because Miller didn’t know how to drive, I would pick him up at his home in the Pacific Palisades to bring him to the house in Beverly Hills where my mother still lives, and then drive him back when the party wound down.

The first few times I drove him, I was too self-conscious and afraid of how he might respond if I were to be so bold as to tell him that reading Tropic of Cancer in 1960, when it was still banned in the U.S., had changed my life, had made we want to write something like that book that wasn’t a book, that verbal kick in the pants to God and Man, Love and Beauty. I wanted, but did not dare, to ask him to read QWERTYUIOP.

The original letter signed by Henry Miller,
and an excerpt from the annotations in the book:

In a typed letter Miller responded to my story and I was thrilled and flattered that he referred to it as a “book”: “Now that I am about to write you concerning your book I wonder if I really have anything worth while to say. To give criticism or pass judgment on anything or anybody is getting harder and harder for me every day. A good sign perhaps.”

He encouraged me: “Keep on writing, that’s what I’m trying to say. But write only what’s burning you up, what you have to write, and what nobody else can. It’s that simple to me.”

“Siegel’s work … is just the cerebral aphrodisiac we need.” — Salon

I must confess that I don’t really remember what wine I bought on my first day in Paris. But whatever it was, it should, if only for literary reasons, have been Saint-Amour.
Since smells so powerfully evoke memories, I had or­dered a carton of the proletarian Gitanes Maïs from an online tobacco vendor in hopes that the aroma of the smoke wafting from my ashtray as I typed would bring back vivid recollections of my semester in Paris over a half a century ago.
I had started smoking them there when I became aware that Albert Camus had never been photographed without one in his mouth. Sartre smoked them between pipes. So did Serge Gainsbourg (five packs a day). So did other writers including Jack Kerouac, Blaise Cendrars and, most significantly of all, Cendrars’ friend Henry Miller.
When I finally met Miller in California after my return from France he was smoking Pall Malls and later switched to Kents.
From one of those bouquinistes I had purchased La Revue Naturiste Internationale, the nudist magazine from which I cut the photograph of a naked typist for the collage that became the proposed cover for QWERTYUIOP.
Another bouquiniste was selling vintage risqué French postcards, one of a nude woman which I had to have because, it was plain to see, the typewriter on her desk was a Royal De Luxe.
The collage was made from the cover story of the March 1959 issue of the House of Secrets comic book published by DC National Comics. I don’t remember how or why I had a copy of it in Paris, but I was recently able to find and buy it on eBay.
In my innocent aspirations to become a writer, I identified with the hero of that story, wondering how I would cope with the reality of the women in my story if they emerged from my fantasies and came to life, naked and licentious.
I ordered it as a memento of my adolescent adventures in typing and love. I remember imagining that the woman on the cover of the book was Miss Hammond and, in flipping through the pages, I recalled imagining her late at night reading what I was reading from her book. That it aroused her was arousing to me:
Erika could no longer resist. Love had made her weak. She could not stop her hand from placing itself beneath Jake’s chiseled jaw line. That hand was obeying her heart not her brain. It pushed the chin of his...