bodice-ripper (1978), bodice-ripping (1979)

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue May 6 23:47:45 UTC 2014

Re explicitness: we have to remember that the "bodice" entry was
first published in the Victorian era (1887) and "has not yet been
fully uplifted."


At 5/6/2014 10:49 AM, Charles C Doyle wrote:
>I question the descriptor "sexually explicit" in the OED's definition!
>Of course, such explicitness would be a matter of degree.  But
>aren't bodice rippers typically aimed at "proper" women who enjoy a
>bit of oblique spiciness?  Such novels, sold at airport newsstands,
>are a far cry from porn!
>Well, maybe to the sensibility of English women, they do count as porn?
>Poster:       Ben
>OED has "bodice-ripper" = 'a sexually explicit romantic novel' from
>Sept. 1979. Slightly earlier:
>Charitey Simmons, "Dizzying Passion Ruffles the Pages of 'Hot'
>Historical Novel"
>Chicago Tribune, Feb. 8, 1978, Section 2, p. 4, col. 1
>Publishers call them hot historicals as opposed to either the virginal
>variety Barbara Cartland writes or to the bodice rippers "because
>that's usually what happens to the heroines," Price [sc. Linda Price
>of Bantam Books] explained.
>And here's the verbal noun "bodice-ripping":
>Suzanne Dolezal, "Sizzling Formula for Selling Books"
>Boston Globe, Feb. 21, 1979, p. 59, col. 1
>[Barbara Alpert of Ballantine Books:] "The books are geared to women's
>sensitivities -- ideal love with a little bodice-ripping. You don't
>take them seriously."
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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