Erotic Stories is a treasury of amorous tales from around the world, ranging from ancient Greek myths to modern stories of longing and lust. From the innocent yearning of Daphnis and Chloe evoked by Longus to the sadomasochism of Pauline Réage’s Story of O, this anthology explores human desire across the ages in all its dark complexity. Whether intensely raw or subtly insinuating, the short stories gathered here—by writers as different as Boccaccio and Chekhov, Anaïs Nin and Allan Gurganus—are calculated to unsettle and arouse. Here too are scenes from such classic novels as Choderlos de Laclos’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Nicholson Baker’s The Fermata, from Junichiro Tanizaki’s The Key and Sarah Waters’s Tipping the Velvet. Accounts of ardor and transgression also flow from unexpected pens: an astonishingly explicit scene from Edith Wharton’s unfinished “Beatrice Palmato,” for example, and Guy de Maupassant’s heated “Idyll,” which describes a young peasant woman offering her breast to a starving stranger on a train. Hunger is the fierce undercurrent to these tales: the gnawing lust of one lover for another, or the greedy pursuit of a particular inclination. The elegant depravity of an eighteenth-century French aristocrat, the dreamlike seductions of an Egyptian jinni in the form of a snake, the brutal anonymity of a highway truck-stop encounter—the stories in this richly varied collection reveal that the urge to articulate sexual desire is as inventive as it is timeless.