Chapter 98 Pulp Fiction So Good it was Published in Hardcover



I came across two novels that have what I think of as pulp fiction-type covers. You know the type. They feature illustrations of buxom femmes fatale. Though not in any way related to my usual collecting interests — Dante or pioneer women — the vibrant illustrations combined with the sleazy titles — Unwilling Sinner and Mirage of Marriage — made me snap them right up at a recent library sale.

Unwilling Sinner, by Jack Woodford (1894-1971) was published in 1952, and, its dustjacket reads, “This is the story of a beautiful girl of good family background and healthy upbringing who became a ‘party girl’ in the swarming milieu of New York’s business world. It is her story and the story of a gigolo who changed his whole way of life to recreate an exquisite and lovely woman who had become, out of weakness and ignorance, an ‘unwilling sinner’.” Intriguingly, the dustjacket also refers to the author, Jack Woodford as “America’s Rabelais”. Well, I thought. That’s a tall order for a pulp fiction author. (Having been an English teacher, I admit to being a bit of a literary snob now and then.)

The back panel of the dustjacket on Mirage of Marriage (1948) advertises another book by Woodford called How to Write and Sell a Novel: “Few novelists are as well qualified as Woodford to write such a book. He has been writing novels for more than twenty years . . . Among critics he has received either rave reviews or bitter condemnations denouncing him as a writer who should be directed to the gibbet with all speed.”

Wow! People either loved or hated him. I did some further research. Not only was he a master of his racy genre, he was a writing teacher praised extensively by other famous authors, like Ray Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlein, and Piers Anthony. Another website about Woodford says

A prolific writer of soft-core erotica with a deft sense of plot construction and scene setting, Woodford wrote of free spirited and well traveled young men, with jobs and ambitions similar to the heroes of popular films, who bedded adventurous and spirited women. Both parties were raring to go on page one. The titles alone were enough to get the reader “under cover,” and Wilson and Shapiro issued dust jackets featuring busty women in dresses with low décolletage for these inexpensive hardbacks.

Wikipedia describes Woodford saying of the plots of his books: “Boy meets girl; girl gets boy into pickle; boy gets pickle into girl.”

Well, that certainly sums it up, though Woodford’s writing would probably be considered less scandalous in this day and age.

Here is a list of some of the other pulp-fiction titles written by Woodford:

Hoof Hearted
Journey to Passion
Savage Honeymoon
She Liked the Man
Here is My Body
Rented Wife

Just in case you wanted to know. 😉

In trying to meet my New Year’s Resolution of cataloguing at least one new book a day, I’ve listed them for sale on my website, so click here for Unwilling Sinner and here for Mirage of Marriage.

Just in case you wanted to know. 😉


Filed under Book Finds, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Chapter 98 Pulp Fiction So Good it was Published in Hardcover

  1. WM

    I feel durty just reading those titles.

  2. JEMSC

    I’m stunned. I read this entry in your blog (I read your blog every day and love it) and broke down crying. Only from my mother have I EVER heard of author Jack Woodford and then only about his HOW TO WRITE AND SELL A NOVEL. In fact, at home on my parents’ dining room table right now is a copy of this book. My mother had been urging me to take it and read it. In the early 1950s, my mother purchased and read this book and soon after became a published writer, eventually churning out 5 novels and over 500 short stories. She passed away 3 weeks ago.

  3. JEMSC,

    Wow! Now it’s my turn to be stunned. First, I am so sorry about the loss of your mother. It’s clear that she learned a lot from Woodford’s writing book, but she must also have had a good deal of talent to write and publish so prolifically. It’s amazing how we sometimes receive “reminders” of people we know in books. In fact, I’ll be writing a post on this topic soon. Many thanks for reading the blog, and I hope that it also brings a smile as well.

    Best Regards,

  4. I blush! Let us know if your hit counter spikes.

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