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Samuel Roth, Infamous Modernist$
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Jay A. Gertzman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813044170

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813044170.001.0001

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Times Square, Peggy Roth, Southern Gothic, Céline, and Nietzsche

(p.219) Chapter 8 1949–1952
Samuel Roth, Infamous Modernist

Jay A. Gertzman

University Press of Florida

Roth’s mail-order offerings in the 1940s and 1950s were similar to the materials offered in the Times Square bookstores of the same period. Those locations were often raided because of the sexual emphasis of the books, magazines, and photographs. Roth offered similar materials, with circulars featuring hermaphroditism, sadomasochism, bondage, female domination, and flagellation. Unlike bookstores and newsstands, customers did not have to be embarrassed by frequenting sleazy locations. In addition to exploitive items, Roth published two well-written and entertaining spoofs on the Southern Gothic genre; Milton Hindus’s groundbreaking study of his visit with Louis-Ferdinand Céline, author of anti-Semitic pamphlets in the late 1930s; and a book purportedly by Nietzsche on his relationship with his sister. The general assumption that it was a hoax is disputed by several recent scholars, so powerfully apposite is it to Nietzsche’s other writings.

Keywords:   Southern Gothic, Times Square, sleaze, mail order, literary hoax, Nietzsche, sadomasochism

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