The Autobiography of a Flea

Infobox Book |
name = The Autobiography of a Flea

image_caption = Title page of the 1901 edition
author = Anonymous
country = United Kingdom
language = English
genre = Erotic novel
publisher = Literary Press
release_date = 1901
media_type = Print (Hardcover)
pages = 274 pp
isbn = NA
oclc = 48562620

The Autobiography of a Flea is a Victorian era erotic novel published under the name Anonymous in 1901 in London.

The book was adapted into a 1976 pornographic film (see film adaptation).


The novel is narrated by a flea who tells the tale of a beautiful young girl named Bella falling into her own curiosity of her sexuality and the people who take advantage of herown ignorance. The novel serves as both erotica and also as a piece of anti-church propaganda (by portraying members of the priesthood as immoral, manipulative and hypocritical).


The plot begins with Bella in church, as she leaves Charlie pushes a note into her hand. She reads that it says he will be in their old meeting place at eight o' clock. She meets him in a garden. After some playful conversation Charlie introduces her to her first sexual experience. Afterwards Father Ambrose, who had been hiding in the shrubs, surprises them, scolding both of them for their behaviour and threatening to reveal what they have been doing to their guardians. Bella pleads for mercy. Father Ambrose, appearing to relent, tells Bella to meet him in the sacristy at two o'clock the next day and Charlie to meet him at the same time the day after that. Ambrose instructs Belle into a way she may be absolved of her sins and blackmails her into sex with him, lest he tell her guardian what she was up to. Then Ambrose's colleagues, the Fr Superior & Fr Clement, catch them in the act, and they demand equal rights to Belle's favours. And so Belle is introduced to serving the Holy community in a special way.

Despite his promises, Ambrose goes to see Belle's uncle, Monsieur Verbouc and tells of her lewd behaviour. This leads to her uncle, who has long entertained lustful thoughts of his niece, attempting to force himself on Belle. The narrator then intervenes, biting him to put a damper on his ardour.

Next, Father Clement, looking for Belle's room, climbs into the window of Belle's aunt, the pious Madame Verbouc (played by Annette Haven), who had mistaken him for her husband. M. Verbouc then bursts in and his wife realises she's actually been making love to the randy priest.

Belle's friend, Julia Delmont, becomes Ambrose's next target. By now completely corrupted and happy to go along with whatever Ambrose suggests, Belle readily agrees to the Father's next scheme: She will offer herself to Monsieur Delmont, on condition that her face is covered. The trick is that it will not be Belle who lies there, but Delmont's own daughter. Father Ambrose seduces her and says he will come to her by night and make love to her, but she must hide her face.

When the act is consummated, Belle appears and pretends that it was all a big mistake. But since Delmont has now potentially impregnated his daughter, the only way to be sure his incest cannot be discovered is to have all make love to her as well. In case she is pregnant, nobody can claim that her own father is the father.


The Flea

The Narrator of the story is a flea whose name is never revealed. The novel begins with the flea asserting his intelligence and abilities of observation and communication as being comparable to a human, and demurs from any explanation of the cause. The unusual narrator allows the story to be written from the viewpoint of a character who neither participates nor necessarily approves of the sex scenes, and the movement of the narrator between the bodies of the different characters allows the action to follow different characters at different times. Despite ostensibly being written from the first person the novel includes descriptions of the feelings and intentions of various characters which seem more fitting with a third person limited omniscient narrator.


The main character of the book, Bella, is an orphan who lives with her uncle and aunt. At the beginning of the story she is 14 and is described as being "the admired one of all eyes and the desired one of all hearts - at any rate among the male sex". She begins the book sexually naive, but inquisitive.


Very little description is given of Charlie, and after a brief mention in Chapter 3 he ceases to play any part in the story.

Father Ambrose

A priest aged 45, described as having a handsome face, with jet black eyes and as being short and stout. The narrator says Ambrose's mind is dedicated to the pursuit of lust, and much of the novel's plot is due to his machinations.

Release Details

*1887, First published in London
*1901, Published for The Erotica Biblion Society of London and New York, Hardcover
*1967, United States, Greenleaf Classics, Paperback
*1968, United States, Pendulum Books, Paperback
*1964, United Kingdom, Nexus, Paperback
*2004, United States, Olympia Press ISBN 1-59654-050-8, Pub date 30 December 2004, Paperback

Film adaptation

"The Autobiography of a Flea" was adapted into a film in 1976 directed by Sharon McNight and with a screenplay written by Sharon McNight.

External links

*imdb title|id=0122972|title=The Autobiography of a Flea

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