Italian Passion

Published December 2, 2011 by Tony

Frederick the Great’s Erotic Poem

It’s always been told that Italians and southern people are fiery and passionate and this was also known in the past, as evidenced by some letter of King Frederick II of Prussia. He even wrote an erotic poem in French called “Jouissance” (Sensual pleasure), where having recourse to Greek mythology, praised sex and orgasm during a night of love. The protagonists of this erotic story, described in detail, just were him and his lover Francesco Algarotti (an Italian essayist). It was written, according to correspondence with Voltaire (another close friend), in response to the Italian Algarotti friend’s contention, that northern Europeans were not as passionate as southern Europeans. Autograph letters and poem were found recently in the secret Prussian Archives in Berlin. The recently discovered manuscript is the original one owned by Algarotti. It was sent to Berlin in 1894, but was placed by Emperor William II in the Berlin archives where it has been ever since. The poem was printed in full in the German newspaper Die Zeit on September 15th.
In the end the king wrote,  “A moment of lust is worth as much to him who enjoys it as a century of honor.”

Francesco Algarotti   Frederick II


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