More on "soft-core pornography" antedating (1961)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Dec 2 00:51:07 UTC 2009

Interesting.  I can't add anything about William
A. Christian, with whom I didn't overlap at Yale,
and I don't have anything to contribute on core
density, but I remember Eustace Chesser from his
classic manual (late 50's?  early 60's) _Love
Without Fear_.  I recall cultural pundits of the
time remarking on the significance of the shift
from the "Love Without Fear" era to that of "Sex
Without Guilt" (a best-selling guide that
postdated Chesser's, written by the
cognitive-rational therapy guru Albert [no
relation to Havelock] Ellis).  One significant
development that occurred post-Chesser and
pre-Ellis was of course The Pill.


At 7:35 PM -0500 12/1/09, Garson O'Toole wrote:
>Gareth Branwyn posted a query to the list that included this
>statement: "I am currently editing an article by Paul Krassner (of
>"The Realist" fame) in which he claims to have coined the terms "soft
>core porn" (1958)  "
>OED 2nd has a 1966 cite. The online archive of
>The Realist has a May 1964 cite.
>Google Books archive has a 1961 cite of "soft core pornography" in the
>journal Religious Education. The citation is only accessible in
>snippet view. Based on extracted text I think the phrase occurs in a
>review of the book "An Outline of Human Relations" by Eustace Chesser.
>But I cannot determine the identity of the book reviewer. This
>citation does not antedate the claimed 1958 coinage.
>Citation: Religious Education, page 75, Vol. 56, Religious Education
>Association, 1961.
>The second part on marriage and sex deviations seems to this writer to
>be sophisticated pornography. Granted that it is an area of previous
>writing by Chesser, the extended discussion of sex deviations in a
>volume which guides mothers in their emotional roles with children as
>the opener and which closes with a collection of homilies, seems to be
>"hard-core" (as distinguished from non-substantial, or soft-core)
>I do not have a paper copy of the journal to confirm this information
>and Google Books metadata is sometimes inaccurate. The table of
>contents of the online journal says that page number 75 is located in
>the Book Review section of the January 1961 issue.
>One of the book reviewers on page 75 is William A. Christian who is
>identified as an Associate Professor of Religion at Yale University.
>An obituary of William A. Christian Sr. says he was appointed to the
>Yale faculty as an associate professor in 1951 and became a full
>professor in 1962. This provides some evidence that the citation
>really is from 1961.
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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