Book Review of "The Lusty Argonian Maid" Essay

In this article I have chosen to review The Lusty Argonian Maid, a controversial book by Crassius Curio. It’s controversial in the sense that it contains a large amount of innuendo, and is banned for indecent content in the Summerset Isles.

Now those of you that know me understand that I am always on the lookout for banned and controversial books. There is a certain alluring quality to what the unwashed masses consider “forbidden knowledge”.

My search for these rare gems has taken me from High Rock and the Iliac Bay, all through the Imperial Province of Cyrodiil, and even to the red mountain of Vvardenfell. I can say with utmost certainty that in all my travels The Lusty Argonian Maid has been the most difficult to find.

This book did not have a limited printing. I found hundreds of copies of this book easily. In the bargain bins in the backs of bookstores, under table legs, lying on the side of the road…there were plenty of copies in every major city. Finding a complete copy in good condition was another matter.

It seemed no matter how many places I looked I could not find any that were not the victims of intentional or accidental abuse. For the pious few who proudly make frequent appearances at one of the temples to the nine divines this book makes excellent kindling for the fire. For the rest of the common folk the fate of these books bordered on the barbaric. Often times I would find pages missing or the text intentionally marked through, however the most common issue I found plaguing this book was that many of the pages were stuck together.

I decided that the only place I could find a clean and complete copy of the book was to purchase one from the author, Crassius Curio. At the time he was living a rather comfortable life in the capital city of Vivec, and I just happened to be nearby at the library researching Reflections on Cult Worship. Crassius was overjoyed that I showed an interest in his work, and instead of selling me a copy he wished to give me a copy if I would let him kiss me on the cheek.

The things I do for my work.

He gave me a personally autographed copy, though I’m not sure if his autograph would actually raise or lower the value of the book. I got out of there as soon as possible just in case he had anything else in mind for me.

The play itself has only two characters: Crantius Colto, who is assumed to be a male Imperial; and his maidservant, a female Argonian named Lifts-Her-Tail. There is also mention of a headmistress, however this character never makes an appearance. Each act involves Master Colto interrupting Lifts-Her-Tail, and asking her to perform special favors for him such as “polishing the spear” and “kneading the bread”. Lifts-Her-Tail responds to the special favors initially with shock and protest, but then acceptance as she quickly agrees to faithfully serve her master. Lifts-Her-Tail’s swift willingness to bend to her master’s wishes could indicate potential feelings for Master Colto, or possibly a fear of punishment. It is difficult to say as these characters are not well-developed.

The adult nature of the play aside I do find it to be well-written, with a rich use of creative metaphors. Each of the acts in the play are written mostly independent of the others, and can easily be broken up to act as short segments between the other performances in a night of somewhat raunchy comedy theatre. It should be noted that when read onstage one should include a generous amount of inflection as the dialogue in this play should sound as ridiculous as possible.

The Lusty Argonian Maid is not a book that should be read in any public space, as it may offend those who happen to take more than a glance at its pages. I read this book in the privacy of my room at the inn and still felt very exposed, however that could be just a reaction due to my strict Altmer upbringing. I do acknowledge Crassius Curio for his skill in writing such a book, however after exploring this macabre of carnal desires I felt as though I needed a bath. Maybe one of these days I’ll stumble upon his other well-known book The Three-Legged Guar and cringe.