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Naked Came the Stranger Hardcover – Import, February 26, 1970
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|Hardcover, Import, February 26, 1970||
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
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About the Author
Lauren Fortgang, a graduate of Fordham University's Theater Program, is an actress, narrator, and costume designer. She has recorded everything from video games to textbooks. Her audiobook narrations have earned two AudioFile Earphones Awards and placed her as a finalist for an Audie Award in 2014.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The Stranger can be read for fun and sexual titillation, if your literary instincts aren't so developed as to get in the way. It's intended as farce, not serious fiction. But the novel can also be read for what it tells us of the sexual hypocrisy of the 1960s and 70s -- and today. Originally slanted to illustrate how vulgar our popular American culture had become, in hindsight it may actually illustrate something deeper. The lingering anti-sensualism of western culture and religion have continued to cast a deep shadow of sexual repression over all of us, denying us the enjoyment of a major dimension of our humanity.
There was once a school of psychology which entertained the idea that the primary source of all neurosis (a term no longer used in professional practice) was not getting laid often enough or with any trained skill. Even if we aren't willing to go quite that far, it must surely be apparent that when our culture cannot embrace sexual desire and transcending ecstasy without labeling them "naughty", there is something profoundly wrong with the way we're [STILL] being brought up!
So read the Stranger and let yourself be pleasantly aroused between your groans over the writing. But as you reach the talk-show commentaries at the end of each chapter, ask yourself a deeper question: if you happened to tune in Gilly's show on your contemporary AM dial -- without knowing what it really was -- what would be your reaction? How much of the public hypocrisy of the 1960s have you personally bought into?
I've not read any romance novels from the mid 1960's, which is what these writers were satirizing, in fact I've never read any romance novels at all, but I know that they're usually not terribly brilliant pieces of literature- And I don't read Newsday either, but you don't have to be familiar with romance novels to appreciate this book-
These writers intentionally left blatant obvious mistakes in this book, they build up characters early in the book whom we never find out what happens to them, they suddenly introduce elements in the middle of the book for intentional incongruity, these are all the kinds of things that editors and publishers would have usually wanted to clean up- And this book made the bestseller lists back in 1970, because of the successive series of sex scenes, and that's exactly what the team of writers from Newsday who were writing under the pen name "Penelope Ashe" were intending to do- They were intending to show that all you need is a series of graphic descriptive sex scenes for a book to sell well; no sophisticated plots, no complex characters, no interesting dialogue, exploration of themes, etc... Perhaps some of the reason this book sold so well back in 1970 was also due to the celebration of the era of sexual liberation and the "sexual revolution," I was born in 1972, so this was a bit before my time...
I like to think that if I'd not known the background story behind "Penelope Ashe," I'd have recognized that this book was not intended to be taken seriously, but I'd not have known that they were satirizing the romance novels of the mid 1960's, I might have thought that they were satirizing soft core pornography ... This book is a sex comedy, perhaps this can be described as what would happen if you hired a professor of comparative literature to write the script to an XXX rated movie... The way that these authors have structured the comedy within the sex scenes is extremely clever, I don't want to say anymore because I don't want to give away too much of the story here...
45 years before there was Erika Leonard (whom I don't intend to read), there was "Penelope Ashe" ...
The story details the sexual conquests of Gilly, one half of a husband and wife radio program called "the Billy and Gilly Show". She finds out Billy is cheating and basically spends the rest of the book seducing and having sex with everyone in town.
Pretty hilarious. Tough to read in public. I found myself literally doubled over with laughter at the scene where she seduces the rabbi and people were staring at me like I was insane.