Quoted from the translator's "Foreword," p. vi.
"Take the subject of PROSTITUTION, for example. For thousands of years, since long before the dawn of history, Prostitution has been the most glaring of social phenomena. Religious leaders, from Buddha and Confucius to Socrates, Christ, Mohammed and St. Augustine, have fulminated against it; legislators, from Moses and Lycurgus to the contemporary Comstocks, have drawn statutes to crush it, or at least have endeavored to curb its ravages; yet scholars (even today, when sociology is an educational fad) have left it almost wholly untouched. It is, it seems, one of the tribal taboos. The few who have dared to touch it — our Krafft-Ebings, our Forels, our Havelock Ellises, etc.— find themselves, more or less, contraband authors on our bookstalls: I shall not forget the severe snubbing I received when I made inquiries of a metropolitan book-clerk regarding the "Psychology of Sex" !
"It required, then, some little courage on the part of Lacroix to tackle such a subject. His work met with the reception which might have been anticipated. Even Paris, traditionally so "gay" and so "blase" — even Paris was shocked. And the result: the 'Histoire de la Prostitution' is almost unknown today. It is only to be found, if found at all, in those mysterious regions of public libraries known as "the vaults, " where the best reading is frequently to be had, or rather, is not to be had."