Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Vintage Paperback Fun

Back in the 1950's, it took a certain amount of courage to read historical fiction--not because of what lay between the covers, but because of the covers themselves. Some were decidedly titillating, even when the story itself didn't justify it.

Here, for instance, is one of my favorite vintage covers. The lass with the permanent wave is supposed to be Katherine Howard:



As anyone who has read a Jean Plaidy novel knows, the bedroom door is kept firmly shut in her novels. One wouldn't guess this, however, from this 1950's paperback:



(This, by the way, is a novel about Catherine de Medici, who is not known to have been quite so sultry looking.)

This third novel, another Plaidy, is one of my favorite vintage paperbacks. The lady is Elizabeth "Jane" Shore:



Incidentally, The King's Mistress also contains a page where one could mail-order titles as Sin Street, Cage of Lust, Teen-Age Vice, and The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. How the Victorian Wilkie Collins got on the same page as Cage of Lust is anyone's guess, but at three for a dollar, the books were certainly a bargain.

6 comments:

Maggi Andersen said...

How amusing to think that these books which were so restrained got such bodice-ripper covers! Obviously they thought the books would sell better, and maybe they did.

Anne Whitfield - author said...

Great post, Susan. How bad are those covers! I would have thought them to be too risky for those times. I was wrong! LOL

Ragged Staff said...

"They paraded her through the streets like a common harlot!" Occupational hazard for harlots, I guess.

Daphne said...

I love these old covers! I am often surprised by the amount of skin shown and the seductive poses on covers from this time period. It just doesn't gel with my perception of what would have been acceptable. They are a lot of fun though!

Margaret Blake said...

I love those covers - especially the one with the Rita Hayworth look about - Kathryn Howard!

I enjoyed The Goldsmith's Wife but it didn't have a cover like that - at least not on the one I bought.

Fantastic post.

kaye said...

Great post! I love old book covers. interesting