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Stanford hopes to restore the balance with its seasonal book club event. Winston Churchill, William Faulkner, George Santayana and Benito Mussolini read it — so did James Joyce, whose failing eyesight led him to select his reading carefully.
The bestseller sold out the day it hit the stores and earned Loos more than a million dollars in royalties. Once the bombshell blonde vamped "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," the effervescent Jazz Age novel became a shard of forgotten history. Who has taken the send-up novel seriously since? Stanford's " Another Look " book club would like to restore the balance. Clearly, this spring will make the s roar again. But while Gatsby , published the same year as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes , takes a grander, tragic look at the era, Loos revels in the pure nuttiness of two gold-diggers taking on New York City and Europe.
Its story is told in a flapper's diary, with spelling and grammatical errors and verbal tics intact:. A gentleman friend and I were dining at the Ritz last evening and he said that if I took a pencil and a paper and put down all of my thoughts it would make a book.
This almost made me smile as what it would really make would be a whole row of encyclopediacs. I mean I seem to be thinking practically all of the time. I mean it is my favorite recreation and sometimes I sit for hours and do not seem to do anything else but think.
So this gentleman said a girl with brains ought to do something else with them besides think. And he said he ought to know brains when he sees them, because he is in the senate and he spends quite a great deal of time in Washington, d.
Thus begins Loos' story of two upbeat, fly-by-night con artists, Lorelei and her sidekick Dorothy. They create moral havoc," writes Regina Barreca in the introduction to the Penguin edition, comparing Loos' creation to Shelley's Frankenstein. Obenzinger said the sequel But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes takes on a darker tone — drugs, prostitution, exploitation and organized crime make their appearance.
But Loos' Gentlemen Prefer Blondes takes nothing seriously, putting the stereotypic ditzy blonde on the map and immortalizing the era's new woman, able to vote, smoke, dance and drink. Loos was no Lorelei, however. She said she would "always pass up a diamond for a laugh.
Much of her life story is to be taken with a grain of salt: trusted sources place her birth in , or Each time she recalled receiving her first paycheck, she was younger, eventually claiming she started her professional writing career at She was, in fact, She also claimed to have written Gentlemen Prefer Blondes while still in her 20s.
Not so; she was in her late 30s. More reliably, she had five decades as a New York playwright, a novelist, a short story writer and one of Hollywood's most respected and prolific screenwriters.
But nothing captured the zeitgeist like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Mencken, with whom she had a flirtatious relationship, triggered her most famous novel after he briefly turned his attentions to an undistinguished blonde. Mencken became a fan: "This gay book has filled me with uproarious and salubrious mirth," he wrote in a review. Lorelei scribbles in her diary, "I mean champagne always makes me feel philosophical because it makes me realize that when a girl's life is as full of fate as mine seems to be, there's nothing else to do about it.
She is in control of her destiny. She gets her guy, she gets good times, she gets the diamond tiara she craves, she even dances with the Prince of Wales — and there's plenty of champagne along the way. The "Another Look" book club focuses on short masterpieces that have been forgotten, neglected or overlooked — or may simply not have received the attention they merit.
The selected works are short to encourage the involvement of Bay Area readers whose time may be limited. Registration at the website anotherlook. Cynthia Haven, English Department: , cynthia. A publication of Stanford's Office of University Communications. Stanford , California Skip to content. Menu Search form Search term. Stanford Report Receive daily Stanford news Email address.
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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos
Stanford hopes to restore the balance with its seasonal book club event. Winston Churchill, William Faulkner, George Santayana and Benito Mussolini read it — so did James Joyce, whose failing eyesight led him to select his reading carefully. The bestseller sold out the day it hit the stores and earned Loos more than a million dollars in royalties. Once the bombshell blonde vamped "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," the effervescent Jazz Age novel became a shard of forgotten history. Who has taken the send-up novel seriously since?
The 100 best novels: No 49 – Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos (1925)
The story primarily follows the escapades and dalliances of a young blonde flapper in New York and Europe during the Roaring Twenties. It is one of several famous novels published that year—including F. Loos was inspired to write the novel by an incident aboard a train bound for Hollywood : "I was allowed to lug heavy suitcases from their racks while men sat about and failed to note my efforts," she recalled, and yet, when another young woman "happened to drop the novel she was reading, several men jumped to retrieve it. Mencken into a love-struck schoolboy. Although dismissed by critics as "too light in texture to be very enduring,"  Loos's book was a runaway best seller, becoming the second best selling title of and printed throughout the world in over thirteen different languages. A sequel, But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes , was published three years later in