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MATT BRADLEY
Balzac '64


click to enlarge

Jade, Hollywood, 1963
(price: 75c; 160 pages)

dedication: Volume 1 of Balzac '64 is dedicated to the Theo Hamm Brewing Company and the makers of Jack Daniels (black label) without whose excellent products it could not have been written.


The blurb on the back:

Delightfully daring!
The newest best-seller by Matt Bradley.
Wickedly witty - blushingly bawdy!
For the first time - the famous Droll Stories brought up-to-date!
It's the way they used to love - and how they used to love!
A fully illustrated Jade book.


opening lines:
'Well,' said Ed McGregor, the presiding judge, 'I guess we'd better hear from the victim. The
rapee, I guess you'd call her.'


Even in the mid-19th century, when French literature was at a creative peak, and when internationally the novel form was achieving unparalleled heights, Honoré de Balzac was perhaps the biggest and most important of all French novelists. He's best remembered as the author of the massive cycle of novels known as La Comédie Humaine, somewhere in the region of ninety novels set in and around Paris, but there were also the much more, ahem, earthy (Rabelesian is the favoured term) Contes Drolatiques which were published in 1832-37, and which we find here in updated form.

No, I don't know why either. It's clearly supposed to be racy, but frankly it doesn't work - it actually feels more coy than the original, since nothing dates so badly as yesterday's raunch. But the dedication's nice, don't you think?

Mr Bradley is also the author of some other works that lead one to suspect he wouldn't have been Balzac's preferred choice of interpreter: Faggots to Burn, Homo Hill, Lesbian Lane and Hot Curves. The cover was designed by Buck Holloway and the illustrations are by Robert Caples:

a young lady comes calling


ARTISTIC MERIT: 2/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:
2/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT:
3/5


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