Memoirs of a Not Altogether Shy Pornographer

 

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Confessions of a Not Altogether Shy Pornographer by Bernard Wolfe  Selected and Introduced by Jonathan Lethem

In this funny and telling portrait of the artist as a young pornographer, Bernard Wolfe chronicles his own unlikely entrance into the world of letters.  The year was 1936, and Depression laden America had no great need for a Yale Phi Bete whose primary talent was for words. After working variously as a secretary-bodyguard for Leon Trotsky in Mexico, a cataloger of the Irving Fisher papers, and a hopelessly inept drill-grinder, Wolfe, through his Greenwich Village friends Anais Nin and Henry Miller, landed his first professional writing job: turning out piecework porn at $2.00 a page for an Oklahoma millionaire.  He credited his pornographic efforts with teaching him to write to specified lengths while facing deadlines: “I acquired the work discipline of a professional writer, capable of a solid daily output.”

Wolfe’s astonishing and peculiar voice is deeply individual, but also historically characteristic. It shows, to me, the way Joyce’s influence, but also Henry Miller’s, were essential in the development of so much colorful ‘voice’ in mid-century writers. The fellow who writes, here, ‘Words are problem-prongs’ was a great man of language, and it’s a gift to be able to read him again. Wolfe lives.” —From the Introduction

Both what Wolfe says about his brief career in pornography and what he doesn’t say (the spaces between his ironies, his raconteur’s pleasure, his occasional theoretician’s rant) tell us that cool began a couple of generations ago.” –  NYTBR

ISBN: 9781940436265
5.5” x 8.25”, $16.95
Paperback, 316 pages
 
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