Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0000343, Mon, 19 Sep 1994 11:43:53 -0700

Nymphets (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 16 Sep 1994 14:38 EDT
From: John Lavagnino <LAV@BINAH.CC.BRANDEIS.EDU>
To: Nabokv-L@UCSBVM.ucsb.edu
Subject: Nymphets

Here's some odd Nabokoviana I saw on the SHARP-L list, which is run
by the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing.
(You can sign up for it via LISTSERV@IUBVM.UCS.INDIANA.EDU.)

John Lavagnino, Brandeis University


Date: Tue, 13 Sep 1994 16:43:48 -0400
Subject: Amusing Paperback Find (second try)

While wandering the streets of Gotham the other day I came across the
following 1963 mass market paperback anthology, published by Lancer

The Nymphets. The cover features a pencil drawing of a young girl in
flowered panties seen from behind. The blurb says *Vivid, unrestrained
stories explore the heights and depths of the LOLITA relationship.* The
back cover text is:

years, there has been a strange, almost fatal attraction between the
young and the old. More recently, a greater number of people have
been made aware of this through the fantastic popular success of
LOLITA. In this unique collection, great writers examine the LOLITA
phenomenon: how it grew, what it is, what it can become...

But what is most interesting after all that is the contents. THe book
includes stories by: Doestoyevsky (sic), Paul Bowles, Maupassant, Gorky,
Chekhov, Sherwood Anderson and Chandler Brossard, to name a few.

I assume Lancer Books did not specialize in LITERARY anthologies, and I
assume many of those who purchased the book were greatly disappointed!
I wonder if Nabokov knew the book. I'm sure he'd have been amused and
happy to find 3 Russian writers in the bunch. Lancer Books did avoid
the can of worms that the inclusion of Nabokov's despised Mann's *Death
in Venice* might have opened.

I'd be interested in hearing any other anecdotes of bizarre marketing of
*serious* literature. This book is rather interesting considering the
publishing history of Lolita as well as some of the wonderful covers
I've seen on paperbacks of _Germinal_ and other works.

--Pete Cherches,


Date: Wed, 14 Sep 1994 13:00:16 EDT
From: "Robert W. Trogdon" <T270164@UNIVSCVM.CSD.SCAROLINA.EDU>
Subject: Re: Amusing Paperback Find

To Pete Cherches and Whoever Else Is Interested,

I have been working on mass-market publishing of Ernest Hemingway in the
late 1940s and early 1950s, so I can provide you with some info on
Lancer Books. According to _Mass Market Publishing in America_, ed. by
Allen Billy Crider (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1982), pp. 154-59, Lancer Books
was in operation from 1962 to 1973 and was part of Magnum Communications
Corp. They published about 2,000 titles and specialized in mysteries,
science fiction, gothics and fantasy. The firm in 1965 published
_Candy_ by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg. This pornographic novel
was origanally published by Olympia Press in Paris and there was some
dispute between Lancer and G. P. Putnam over copyright. The firm also
advertized Henry Kane's Peter Chambers books as "An X-Rated Peter
Chambers Thriller" which "delivered some soft-core pornography as part
of the private eye adventure." Lancer did publish some "quality fiction"
like _Huckleberry Finn_ and _The Red Badge of Courage_, but I don't
think it was a big part of their list.

I hope this has answered some of your questions. Pandora's Books in
North Dakota (address escapes me) specializes in paperbacks so you might
be able to pick up other mass-market literary anthologies.

Robert W. Trogdon
University of South Carolina