Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Nicholas Edme Restif (1734-1806) : The man who gave us shoe fetish

Foot fetishists and shoe fetishists are not the same. Shoe fetishists are called restifists or retifists. The term comes from an 18th century French writer called Nicholas Edme Restif (1734-1806). He wrote under the nome de plume of Restif de la Bretonne. Like his contemporary the Marquis de Sade, Nicholas was a libertine (a promiscuous fellow) who had a strong attraction to shoes. A printer to trade he became a prolific writer with more than 200 books to his credit. He published most of his works himself and despite his output most of his works remain unremarkable. However he wrote about life and contributed considerably to the “personal novel genre" which was later to become very popular in the nineteenth century. His genius was his ability to recount experiences combined with his description of contemporary Pre-Revolution French life. Restif wrote about the lower classes and simple, uneducated peasants in a style which captured their habits and dialects. At the time he was branded a pornographer and his books were removed from the public libraries. More recently his works have been acknowledged as important French 18th century literature.

He was preoccupied with women's shoes and wrote a novel entitled Le Pied de Fanchette (1769) Fanchett's foot. In his diaries he revealed he was a shoe voyeur, stealer and collector. He also wrote extensively on the subject and became so linked with shoe fetishism he gave his name to a preoccupation with shoes.

A century after his death Restif became an inspiration to many writers including Alexande Dumas who wrote Ingenue (1854) which was loosely based on biographic detail of the life of Nicholas Edme Restif. Restif wrote a play entitled ‘The Year 2000' and in it he made predications including the future of marriage. He contemplated keeping couples apart for the first ten years to fan their passions. Never caught on which is more than can be said about shoe fetishism which is very popular and represents approximately among 1% of the male population between 17 and 60. Despite being recognised in the twenty first century, Restif de la Bretonne died in poverty; the dreamer was ruined by the Revolution, and passed away aged 72.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) was a German poet, dramatist, novelist, and scientist. He was affectionately known by his lover as "Mr Bigfoot" and once wrote her a love letter begging for her dancing shoes so he could have them to press against his heart.

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) French poet, dramatist, novelist enjoyed foot fetishism as did Feodor Mikkhailovich Dostoyevski (1821-1881) the Russian novelist.

Author of Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoyevski’s works were often preoccupied with guilt and religious faith.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) the Anglo-Irish poet and critic was reputed to be a celebrated foot fetishist and lived for sometime in Fitzroy Square, London overlooking the London Foot Hospital. He coined the immortal words 'If you rebel against high heeled shoes, take care to do so in a very smart hat. '

US novelist F Scott Fitzgerald (1896- 1940) was a fellow foot fetishist and very attracted to female feet. He did however hate the sight of his own feet and tried never to let anyone see them naked. Shoes provide tactile stimuli for women but although many women amass dozens of pairs seldom does their obsession parallel male fetishists who enjoy sex with the shoe.

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