Insatiable Appetites: Twentieth-Century American Women's Bestsellers

By Madonne M. Miner | Go to book overview

2
Forever Amber: "Swollen Up like a Stuffed Toad"

Later, she and Nan examined [the gown] carefully, speculating. "It must be two-score years old, or more," said Nan. "I wonder who wore it last?"

Amber shrugged. "His first wife, maybe. Or an old sweetheart. . . ."

To her surprise she found when she put it on that it fitted her very well, almost as if it had been made for her.

-- Kathleen Winsor, Forever Amber

Girls in our society have normally remained externally and internally in relationships with their preoedipal mother and have been preoccupied with issues of separation, identification without merging, mitigation of dependency, freedom from ambivalence. Girls cannot and do not "reject" their mother and women in favor of their father and men, but remain in a bisexual triangle throughout childhood and puberty.

-- Nancy Chodorow, The Reproduction of Mothering

October 16, 1944, was not only Kathleen Winsor's twenty-fifth birthday, but also the day she officiated over the public birth of her bestselling first novel, Forever Amber. Macmillan and Company opened its board room (dubbed "bawd room") for a tea to celebrate this double event and reviewers closed in on the beautiful young author. According to an account in the Saturday Review of Literature, one reporter "snipped a lock of the lady's hair to paste in his memory book" and another, gazing upon Winsor, was heard to sigh: "What a profile . . . and it goes all the way down." 1 The highlighting of such incidents in review articles

-35-

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Insatiable Appetites: Twentieth-Century American Women's Bestsellers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Women's Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction: "Guaranteed to Please the Female Reader" 3
  • Notes 11
  • 1 - Gone with the Wind: And the Cupboard Was Bare"" 14
  • Notes 32
  • 2 - Forever Amber: Swollen Up like a Stuffed Toad"" 35
  • Notes 55
  • 3 - Peyton Place: The Uses--And Abuses--Of Enchantment"" 58
  • Notes 74
  • 4 - Valley of the Dolls: Wow! What an Orgy!"" 78
  • Notes 98
  • 5 - Scruples: It's as Addictive as Chocolate"" 101
  • Notes 123
  • Conclusion 126
  • Notes 141
  • Bibliography 143
  • Index 153
  • About the Author 159
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