Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Although it pleases me that Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons -- the novel David Brooks apparently considers the year's finest moral tract -- is the winner of England's Bad Sex award, I have to admit that it might not have deserved the win. Read the sex scenes from Simmons and all the other nominated books and see what you think -- it really was quite a year for cringe-inducing sexual prose.

SullyWatch thinks that Wolfe's book

is little more than an envious and increasingly dirty old man’s fantasy of being reincarnated as a horny and voluptuous coed (doesn’t the title tell you that?)...

Well, perhaps -- but I think it's Wolfe's attempt to write a modern version of Samuel Richardson's Pamela, an eighteenth-century epistolary novel that was much admired in its time (and also much mocked, notably by Henry Fielding, author of Tom Jones, in Shamela and Joseph Andrews). Pamela also championed virtue -- like Wolfe's novel, it centered on a young lower-class woman's attempt to retain her virginity. (I read these books a long time ago. I much preferred Fielding.)

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