THE DEVIL IN THE FLESH, published posthumously in 1803, is one of the best works by the French novelist Andrea de Nerciat. Although counted among the four or five greatest classics of erotic literature, the novel has been most difficult to find until the appearance of this translation. The ribald story revolves around the erotic adventures of the Marquise and her friend the Countess, both eager devotees of the decadent pleasures of the times. When there are no men around, the ladies amuse themselves with Lesbian games, often inviting their young maids to join them. The Countess is insatiable; she is not above employing mechanical devices and even animals to slake her sensual cravings. Nerciat is distinguished by his imagination, always rich and inventive, and by his masterful use of the element of surprise. The tongue-in-cheek humor with which the excesses of the libertine company are related as they seek to purge their needs.