The poet Adrienne Rich's definition of the erotic, cited in the Introduction to this remarkably diverse anthology, sums up the thread that ties these works together. In female terms, Rich argues, the erotic is ``an energy not only diffuse but. . . omnipresent.'' The stories here, ranging from work by well-known writers (Katherine Mansfield, Colette) to those little known in this country (Siv Holm, Nicole Jouve), and dealing with such matters as obsessive love (Claire Rabe's ``Sicily Enough''), the intersection of fantasy and desire (Angela Carter's ``Flesh and the Mirror''), or the struggle for equality (Simone de Beauvoir's ``Marcelle''), all demonstrate the extent to which the erotic has as much to do with emotional honesty and the imagination as it does with physical intimacy. A nicely balanced collection of provocative versions of desire.