A Strange Erotic Journey from Milan to Minsk
April 22, 2009 5:44 AM   Subscribe

In September 1969, Simon & Schuster was preparing to publish Irving Wallace's The Seven Minutes, a novel about the obscenity trial of a fictitious book of the same name by the fictitious author J.J. Jadway. Maurice Girodias, head of the erotica and avant garde literature publishing house the Olympia Press had a clever idea: what if I publish Jadway's book?

Not surprisingly, he didn't get away with it, but did re-release it under the (barely) new title The 7 Erotic Minutes (full text of the book, NSFW). Russ Meyer directed a movie based on Wallace's novel, but the film was a flop.
posted by Horace Rumpole (16 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
A bold and brave publisher in Paris but with a self-destructive streak, he would routinely scamper amongst cow-pies and deliberately splat a few;

Is this a saying I'm unfamiliar with, or is this description saying that Girodias just liked to play around in poopy fields?
posted by solipsophistocracy at 6:09 AM on April 22, 2009

5 years later Philip José Farmer wrote Venus on a Half Shell in the guise of Kilgore Trout, Kurt Vonnegut's fictional alter ego.
posted by Kattullus at 6:24 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

got Venus on a Half Shell here on my shelf - I'd always wondered if it was Farmer or Sturgeon. Thanks for clearing that up for me Kattullus
posted by zenwerewolf at 7:02 AM on April 22, 2009

Quite honestly, I think Farmer is a better writer than Vonnegut.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:05 AM on April 22, 2009

Venus on the Half-Shell: Available for the first time without lurid covers! (Warning: lurid cover.)
posted by steef at 7:11 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Aww, someone doesn't like price manipulation on the rare erotic book market!
posted by graventy at 7:25 AM on April 22, 2009

..... so, is it any good?
posted by Afroblanco at 7:30 AM on April 22, 2009

Neat. It reminds me of the I, Libertine hoax.
posted by Phlogiston at 7:37 AM on April 22, 2009

That I, Libertine story was new to me, too, and I enjoyed it, as my folks are huge Shep fans (but for the love of god, they should get rid of about half of the exclamation points! in! that! article!).
posted by misha at 8:00 AM on April 22, 2009

Wow, that's an extremely interesting story—thanks for posting it, Horace Rumpole! (I find it odd, though, that you didn't highlight the fact that a collector is holding on to a large stash of mint copies, artificially inflating the price; I thought that was one of the most interesting parts.)
posted by languagehat at 8:49 AM on April 22, 2009

It's no Rochelle, Rochelle.
posted by schoolgirl report at 9:30 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Thanks, languagehat. I wrestled with how to make this into a reasonably pithy FPP and it seemed like the nature of the book itself required a ton of explanation before I even got to that part of it. The secret stash of copies is the most interesting part to me as well, but I wasn't sure if it was too inside-baseball for the non-book-collecting-nerds in the audience.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:35 AM on April 22, 2009

..... so, is it any good?
Fuck-fair fun fair. Fuck her, fucker. Fucker, fucker, fuck me fucker. Fuck me faster, fuck me, fuck me.
...and it gets worse.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:09 AM on April 22, 2009

Tea-and-crumpet Mefites might remember the fleetingly famous UK book by a fictional author, Fly Fishing by J. R. Hartley.

wiki has a nice digest:
The fictional character [J.r. Hartley]appeared in television advertisements for British commercial telephone directory company Yellow Pages, first shown in 1983. The character was played by the actor Norman Lumsden.

The advertisement shows an elderly man going into several bookshops in London's Cecil Court asking for a book called Fly Fishing by an author named 'J. R. Hartley'. Every attempt fails, and the next scene shows him at home looking dejected. His daughter, sympathising, hands him a copy of the Yellow Pages, and the next scene features him looking delighted as a bookshop replies that they have a copy of the book. He asks them to keep it for him, and they ask for his name. He replies, 'My name? Oh, yes, it's J. R. Hartley.'

An author who had brought out a book about fly fishing in 1991 noted how much of a cult figure the fictional Hartley had become, and published it under the pseudonym J R Hartley. Two further books on the subject followed, under the same name
posted by Jody Tresidder at 11:29 AM on April 22, 2009

Great story, thanks! And yeah, the discussion of the morality of "making the market" for a supposedly rare book was the most interesting part for me, too. Funny the author sees no moral questions in quietly buying up all known copies of a book in order to control the price later - which he not only admits to, but treats as perfectly normal practice. Seems kind of a dick move to me, though.
posted by mediareport at 2:06 PM on April 22, 2009

I <3 defictionalization.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:44 PM on April 22, 2009

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