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The American Isherwood$
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James J. Berg and Chris Freeman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780816683611

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816683611.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 01 July 2022

Pulp Isherwood

Pulp Isherwood

Cheap Paperbacks and Queer Cold War Readers

(p.259) 18 Pulp Isherwood
The American Isherwood

Jaime Harker

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines Christopher Isherwood’s reception by readers across the great American landscape as they found him in dime-store paperback racks. It explains how Isherwood’s frank and unpretentious persona invited his readers to consider him a trusted friend and inspired letters that went beyond hero worship to casual encounters and the taking of considerable liberties. It shows that Isherwood was enmeshed in one of the most lucrative and debated movements in Cold War print culture: the “paperback revolution.” It also considers how the Cold War’s larger homosexual panic fueled official concern about “deviant” sex, particularly the widespread distribution of “well-of-loneliness” fiction, or what Susan Stryker calls queer pulp. Finally, it describes how gay readers across Cold War America read and welcomed Isherwood’s work, including his 1954 novel The World in the Evening, and became devoted fans.

Keywords:   gay readers, Christopher Isherwood, paperback, Cold War, paperback revolution, well-of-loneliness fiction, queer pulp, America, The World in the Evening

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