Sunday, April 27, 2014

Paperback 769: God's Little Acre / Erskine Caldwell (Penguin 581)

Paperback 769: Penguin 581 (1st ptg, 1946)

Title: God's Little Acre
Author: Erskine Caldwell
Cover artist: jonas

Yours for: $13


Best things about this cover:
  • Do love the peephole covers. Though usually we get to peep at something sexy. Or at least living.
  • It's an oddly tepid cover, given how strongly Caldwell's work was associated with sex. Future Caldwell covers will be … less discreet, to put it mildly.
  • I believe that to be the smallest outhouse that has ever been painted.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Stock photo, lifted from "Generic White Man" entry in Encyclopedia Americana. 
  • "Graduating from neither," ha ha. "He sampled your so-called 'higher education' and decided 'fuck this—I'ma pick cotton!"
  • That is weirdest way in which anyone's pro football career has ever been introduced. "He was truly fuckable, like a football player, which he was once. Probably. Somewhere."
  • Damn, looks like a dog hair got on the scanner platen. Sorry about that.

Page 123~

"Saying he's going to vote for me and doing it when the time comes is as far apart as the land and the sky." 

It's like when Martin beat Bart for class president on "The Simpsons." Everyone said they supported Bart, but only two people voted: Martin and Martin's running mate Wendell.  So Martin won.

Amazing discovery of the day—this book reprints, at the very end, the ruling by the Magistrate's Court of the City of New York, clearing Viking Press (this book's original publisher) from charges of obscenity brought against it by the People of the State of New York at the instigation of The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. Based on this information, the oddly sexless cover instantly becomes either more perplexing or more understandable, depending on how you look at it. I have only ever seen this legal opinion-reprinting in the backs of sleaze paperbacks, specifically those published by in the late '50s and early '60s by Sanford Aday, who has his own repeated run-ins with the law. As the opinion reprinted here makes clear, God's Little Acre was defended by many scholars and writers on its literary merits. Harder to argue for said merits when the title of your book is Sex Life of a Cop (as it was in Aday's own trial). Anyway, very cool to discover this much-more-mainstream precedent for self-justifying end matter.


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Karl said...

What's up with the logo-penguin? Is he dancing the hokey-pokey? Checking if his shoe is tied?

Lisa in Oz said...

I weirdly love this one. Also, points for a Simpsons reference in a lit blog. :P

DemetriosX said...

Trying to find out about his pro football career (he played in a league in Pennsylvania) I discovered that he attended Erskine College (no relation). That must have been weird.

Anonymous said...

You might like to see Abebooks' take on women as temptresses in pulp fiction:

The write-up speaks for itself.