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A Publisher's Paradise

A Publisher's Paradise: Expatriate Literary Culture in Paris, 18901960

COLETTE COLLIGAN
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 376
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5vk4k5
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  • Book Info
    A Publisher's Paradise
    Book Description:

    From 1890 to 1960, some of AngloAmerica’s most heated cultural contests over books, sex, and censorship were staged not at home, but abroad in the City of Light. Paris, with its extraordinary liberties of expression, became a special place for interrogating the margins of sexual culture and literary censorship, and a wide variety of English language “dirty books” circulated through loose expatriate publishing and distribution networks. A Publisher’s Paradise explores the political and literary dynamics that gave rise to this expatriate cultural flourishing, which included everything from Victorian pornography to the most daring and controversial modernist classics. Colette Colligan tracks the British and French politicians and diplomats who policed Paris editions of banned books and uncovers offshore networks of publishers, booksellers, authors, and readers. She looks closely at the stories the “dirty books” told about this publishing haven and the smut peddlers and literary giants it brought together in transnational cultural formations. The book profiles an eclectic group of expatriates living and publishing in Paris, from relatively obscure figures such as Charles Carrington, whose list included both The Picture of Dorian Gray and the pornographic novel Randiana, to bookshop owner Sylvia Beach, famous for publishing James Joyce’s Ulysses in 1922. A Publisher’s Paradise is a compelling exploration of the littleknown history of foreign pornography in Paris and the central role it played in turning the city into a modernist outpost for literary and sexual vanguardism, a reputation that still lingers today in our cultural myths of midnight in Paris.

    eISBN: 978-1-61376-279-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-14)

    From 1890 to 1960 some of Anglo-America’s most heated cultural contests over books, sex, and censorship were staged not at home, but abroad in the City of Light. Paris became a haven for interrogating and reimagining the margins of sexual culture and literary expression, and a wide variety of English “dirty books” circulated through loose expatriate publishing and distribution networks. The writers, publishers, printers, booksellers, and readers who were part of this expatriate print culture came and went, but the social and material infrastructures of their networks remained in place as long as such books could not be published elsewhere....

  5. PART I POLITICS

    • CHAPTER 1 BRITISH CULTURAL POLICY AND THE RISE OF PARIS EDITIONS, 1890–1914
      (pp. 17-43)

      Paris was the center of European artistic life in the nineteenth century. In the British cultural imagination, the city was also the gateway for splendor and vice. The controversial French novels of Guy de Maupassant, Emile Zola, and Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly fed such ideas with their loose tales of sex, prostitution, and adultery. Many British writers, and especially the generation of young Decadent writers like Ernest Dowson, Arthur Symons, and Havelock Ellis, spent considerable amounts of time in Paris soaking up its libertine atmosphere and infusing their works with music halls, absinthe nights, and sexual vanguardism while railing against British...

    • CHAPTER 2 BRITISH CENSORSHIP, FRENCH LIBERALISM, AND PARIS EDITIONS, 1918–1960
      (pp. 44-64)

      In 1915, a British postal official noted that the traffic in pornography coming from France was virtually “killed by the war.”¹ But the business in Paris editions that developed with the internationalization of pornography quickly resumed after the fighting ended, newly linking pornography with experimental modernist writing, and expatriate Britons with lost Americans engaging in different kinds of internationalism as they moved through Gay Paree after the First World War. Powerful myths of anglophone repression and French liberalism have proliferated to explain the allure of Paris during these years. It was the city of dance halls, theaters, andboîtes de...

  6. PART II PUBLISHING

    • CHAPTER 3 CHARLES CARRINGTON, 1867–1921
      (pp. 67-90)

      Shifting from the cultural politics that led to the rise and fall of Paris editions to the principal personalities behind their production and distribution, we discover front and center the man who went by the name Charles Carrington (1867–1921). He was the Paris-based publisher-bookseller who appeared repeatedly on British government watch lists and who helped turn the city into a publishing haven for banned English books. Over a thirty-year period he published nearly three hundred books. These included reprints of Victorian pornographic classics likeVenus in India(1898), a story of the sexual adventures of a married officer, and...

    • CHAPTER 4 CHARLES CARRINGTON’S BOOKS FROM ABROAD, CIRCA 1895–1921
      (pp. 91-140)

      Charles Carrington’s extraordinary life as an expatriate, unearthed in the last chapter, informed his great entrepreneurial venture as a Paris-based publisher-bookseller. Sometime around 1895, when he immigrated to Paris, he set up his unique publishing business that specialized in sex books from abroad, which he sometimes advertised as Paris editions. That very same year the British government began monitoring his activities, and that of the other lesser dealers who traded for him and piggybacked on his business. He published 85 percent of his list of roughly three hundred books between 1895 and 1907 when he was in Paris, but he...

    • CHAPTER 5 PARIS EDITIONS FROM CHARLES HIRSCH TO MAURICE GIRODIAS, CIRCA 1900–1960
      (pp. 141-184)

      The English sex book in Paris was bigger than its expatriate creator, Charles Carrington. His rivals and contemporaries, his immediate successors, and other small independent publishers published Paris editions from the turn of the century through to the 1960s. Although some of these publishers have been studied, this publishing history has been habitually compartmentalized. James Nelson and Peter Mendes have studied the intersection of pornographic and Decadent publishing circles in London and Paris in the 1890s. Hugh Ford has looked at the small Paris presses publishing cuttingedge Anglo-American modernist works in the 1920s. Neil Pearson has compiled a bibliography of...

  7. PART III PORNOGRAPHY

    • CHAPTER 6 SUBURBAN SOULS AND THE LITERARY FAMILY, PARIS CIRCA 1900
      (pp. 187-211)

      The changing cultural politics and publishing networks that gave shape to the pornographer’s paradise in Paris are encoded in fascinating ways in certain Paris editions. Works that presented themselves as confessions, memoirs, or diaries reflected on the expatriated book at different moments in its history. Jerome McGann’s sense that the meaning of texts is related to changing material and social contexts suggests a method of reading the unfolding history of Paris editions in terms of their shifting textual, bibliographical, and publishing conditions.¹ The hard-to-classify book titledSuburban Souls: The Erotic Psychology of a Man and a Maid(1901) is a...

    • CHAPTER 7 TELENY, THE 1890s, AND CHARLES HIRSCH’S “NOTICE BIBLIOGRAPHIQUE,” 1934
      (pp. 212-244)

      Teleny or the Reverse of the Medal, A Physiological Romance of To-Day(1893) is another pornographic novel that is an important, albeit contested, record of the history of Paris editions.¹ It is the tragic and libidinous love story of two men, Camille Des Grieux and René Teleny, set in the last quarter of the nineteenth century and influenced by Abbé Prévost’sManon Lescaut(1731), a French novel about star-crossed love, money, and infidelity.² Teleny looks back in time and place to create a Decadent phantasmagoria for its male lovers, making it markedly different in theme and tone from the forward-looking...

    • CHAPTER 8 LOLITA, HER RUSSIAN AMERICAN AUTHOR, AND HIS PARIS PUBLISHER, 1939–1967
      (pp. 245-278)

      Suburban SoulsandTelenyare little known pornographic novels that in different ways can be read against the changing history of Paris editions and Anglo-French cultural politics. The last novel I want to discuss isLolita,a late example of a Paris edition by the Russian-American writer Vladimir Nabokov. Nabokov would probably have objected to my groupingLolitawith these two lesser novels, but his novel emerged out of the same publishing paradise.Lolita’s publishing history reflects how the geopolitics of Paris editions changed over the course of the twentieth century with the massive upheavals of the two world wars....

  8. NOTES
    (pp. 279-342)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 343-362)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 363-366)