Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Paperback 256: About the Kinsey Report / eds. Donald Porter Geddes and Enid Curie (Signet 675)

Paperback 256: Signet 675 (1st ptg, 1948)

Title: About the Kinsey Report: Observations by 11 Experts on "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male"
Authors: various
Cover artist: jonas

Yours for: $6

Best things about this cover:

  • "Sexual Behavior in Male Mannequins with Irregular Heartbeats"
  • This is pretty much as dull as these covers get. This book is impt from a historical standpoint, but not from an aesthetic one. "jonas" is a great early cover artist. Lots of great stylized, abstract covers from him on Penguin and Signet books in particular. This cover doesn't do him justice.
  • The Kinsey Report was a boon for sellers of trashy fiction because they could (and did, in spades) use the data about unconventional (e.g. non-heterosexual, non-reproductive) sexuality from Kinsey's studies to justify and hype their books under the guise of the public's right to exercise its scientific curiosity. We'll see hilarious examples of this kind of self-serving cover copy many times in future installments of this blog.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Small text! Who doesn't love that!?
  • Signet is testing the waters here, waiting to see if their readers do indeed have "fair and open minds." Hence the very boring, scientific-looking, toned-down cover (and cover copy — you don't even see the words "masturbation" or "homosexuality," for instance). The U.S. mass-market paperback doesn't take a serious, overtly sexual turn for another few years, but once Gold Medal comes along with its sensational paperback originals and saucy covers, the heat starts to go up, and by 1960, it's a sexual free-for-all (see Paperbacks 252 and 253, among others).

Page 123~

It is not good to find masturbation continuing as a heavy factor in the sex outlet of married men among the better educated group.

I ... uh ... what?



Andrew said...

Don't worry, it only says that it is not good to *find* it.

Dirt Diggler said...

"The editors of Signet books present this commentary [avalanche of new pulp fiction] ... in the [lucrative] hope that the findings will be better appreciated [sensationalized and distorted for your money] , ... by average Americans [schmucks]."

p.123 - IT IS NOT GOOD FOR THE MAN TO BE ALONE ... er, uh, ... I mean, "IT IS NOT GOOD TO find masturbation continuing as a heavy factor in the sex outlet of married men among the better educated group."

But , of course, it is still permissible as a MINOR factor in the sex outlet of married men among the better educated group. Or, it is perfectly fine to find masturbation continuing as a major factor in the sex outlet of married men in the UNeducated group.

---It's amazing to me that any and all statements in the name of "Science", regardless of their empirical worth/worthlessness, are so pontifical in nature. As if questioning them with even a smidgen of reason or common sense will bring the wrath of the learned elite upon one's head. (Or didn't you know that they alone have superior brains.)

JamiSings said...

They're just saying that a married man should have the majority of sex with his wife, not his hand, Rex.

There's a book called Ten Books That Screwed Up The World that has Kinsey's book mentioned in it. (Working in a library has it's advantages. Still would rather be singing for a living though.)

Sex books depress me as it is. That cover is not helping raise my spirits.

Anonymous said...

First I was going to ask if the back cover's text was supposed to be leaning to the left on purpose. Which made me think of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Then I realized green, white and red are the colors of the flag of Italy. It's all coming together now. That isn't a mannequin on the front cover... it's Il Duce!

Anonymous said...

It is indeed Il Duce. Well, you know how romantic italians can get, so what should one expect from an italian dictator? I wonder how much damage the Kinsley Reports caused the world, not only the West, and what positive effects might be sufficient to counter the wounds. It contributed to the forming of the post-50's society, where insecurity, anxiousness, rootlessness, lack of conscience and overpowering cynicism have a home.