Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Paperback 366: Bachelor Girl / Dorine B. Clark (Intimate Novels 54)

Paperback 366: Intimate Novels 54 (PBO, 1954)

Title: Bachelor Girl
Author: Dorine B. Clark
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $40


Best things about this cover:
  • One of my favorite books. It has virtually everything I love: it's a rare imprint, in very good shape, it's about lesbians, it's "frank" ("brutally frank" acc. to back cover), it uses Kinsey as a tease (also back cover), it's got a major misspelling ("ecstacy?!") ... Home Run.
  • Jeanne thinks wistfully of the time when she used to have a real telephone to talk on ...
  • "Are these close mannish enough for you, honey? Honey? Are you dreaming about telephones again?!"
  • Love the hint of a suggestion of a bed in the background. In case you can't put 2 and 2 together from the rest of the cover ... they're doing it.
  • That's one aggressively foregrounded ashtray.
  • Nice cleavage.


Best things about this back cover:
  • The zigzag lines tell you these people are all mixed up, sexually—other things that tell you this are "twisted," "twisted," "torn," "perplexing problems," "mixed up mentally and physically," "strange pastures" ("Mooooo!"), and, of course, last but not least, "brutally frank" (tee hee!).
  • This was published two years after the Kinsey Report on Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1952). I used this book in my talk at Hofstra last week as an example of a. the ways gayness was pathologized in paperbacks, and b. the way that Kinsey was used to legitimize public interest in gay-themed fiction. "It's science!"
"Ouch, that frankness hurt. Stop brutalizing me with your frankness!"
Page 123~
She had been blind for so long. But now she knew. Now she looked into her heart and felt utterly sure of her love for Jimmy. She listened to the hammering of her heart; she had hoped it would beat again to the rhythm of love.
I really, really wish I could tell you "Jimmy" was a woman. Sadly, this book ends as most lesbian fiction ended in the '50s (and earlier)—with the woman realizing ultimate happiness as a straight woman (that, or with the woman dying).

Sorry for the gap in publication. I should be back on schedule for the foreseeable future now.

[Me, speaking at Hofstra, 10/22/10]


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Lisa in Oz said...

Holy mom jeans, Batman!

I saw a serious (modern) story described as "frank" the other day and couldn't stop giggling inanely to myself...thanks to your blog, all I could think about were books like these.

Deb said...

Patricia Neal's really bad first date with Diane Lane.

Rex Parker said...

Oooh, good call.