Memoirs of a Not Altogether Shy Pornographer: Selected and Introduced by Jonathan Lethem

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In this funny and telling portrait of the artist as a young pornographer, Bernard Wolfe chronicles his own unlikely entrance into the world of letters. The year was 1936, and Depression laden America had no great need for a Yale Phi Bete whose primary talent was for words. After working variously as a secretary-bodyguard for Leon Trotsky in Mexico, a cataloger of the Irving Fisher papers, and a hopelessly inept drill-grinder, Wolfe landed his first professional writing job: turning out piecework porn at $2.00 a page for an Oklahoma millionaire. He credited his pornographic efforts with teaching him to write to specified lengths while facing deadlines: I acquired the work discipline of a professional writer, capable of a solid daily output.”

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