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I, Libertine – Wikipedia

I, Libertine – Wikipedia

2023-01-22 12:39:05

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hoax novel created by Jean Shepherd

I, Libertine is a literary hoax novel that started as a sensible joke by late-night radio raconteur Jean Shepherd who aimed to lampoon the method of figuring out best-selling books. After producing substantial consideration for a novel that did not truly exist, Shepherd permitted a 1956 version of the e book written primarily by Theodore Sturgeon — which grew to become an precise best-seller, with all income donated to charity.


Shepherd was aggravated on the means bestseller lists had been compiled within the mid-Nineteen Fifties. These lists had been decided from gross sales figures and from the variety of requests for brand spanking new and upcoming books at bookstores. Shepherd urged his listeners to enter bookstores and ask for a non-existent e book. He fabricated the creator (Frederick R. Ewing) of this imaginary novel, concocted a title (I, Libertine), and outlined a primary plot for his listeners to make use of on bookstore clerks. Followers of the present took it additional, planting references to the e book and creator so extensively that demand for the e book led to its inclusion on The New York Times Best Seller list.[1]


Bookstores grew to become fascinated with carrying Ewing’s novel, which allegedly had been banned in Boston. When writer Ian Ballantine, novelist Theodore Sturgeon, and Shepherd met for lunch, Ballantine employed Sturgeon to jot down a novel primarily based on Shepherd’s define. Betty Ballantine accomplished the ultimate chapter after Sturgeon fell asleep, exhausted, on the Ballantines’ sofa, having tried to satisfy the deadline in a single marathon typing session.

On September 13, 1956, Ballantine Books revealed I, Libertine concurrently in hardcover and paperback editions with Shepherd pictured as Ewing, wanting as dissolute as doable, on the again cowl creator’s {photograph}. The proceeds from e book gross sales had been donated to charity.[2] A number of weeks earlier than publication, The Wall Street Journal formally “uncovered” the hoax, already an open secret.[3]

See Also


I, Libertine tells the story of a social climber who types himself as Lance Courtenay. A lot of the plot is carefully primarily based on the lifetime of Elizabeth Chudleigh. An afterword states that “The story of Elizabeth Chudleigh is considerably true …”, which might simply be taken as being a part of the hoax, mockingly.[4]

Cowl portray[edit]

The entrance cover shows a quote: “‘Gadzooks,’ quoth I, ‘however this is a saucy bawd!'”. The cover painting by Frank Kelly Freas consists of hidden pictures and inside jokes: The signal on the tavern, Fish & Workers, has a shepherd’s staff and a picture of a sturgeon, referencing each Sturgeon and Shepherd. A portion of the phrase typically spoken on the air by Shepherd – “Excelsior!” – could be seen on the paperback cowl in a triangular space at excessive left, the place it’s a part of the ornament on the coach door. The whole phrase is seen on the hardcover dust jacket, which options extra of the illustration.

See additionally[edit]

  • Atlanta Nights – one other hoax e book created in an try to govern the publishing course of.
  • J. R. Hartley – creator of one other fictitious e book, written after it grew to become well-known.


  1. ^ Temple, Emily (September 26, 2017). “8 Notable Attempts to Hack the New York Times Bestseller List”. Literary Hub. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  2. ^ An interview with Shepherd on the hoax from Long John Nebel’s radio show, WFMU’s Watch out for the Weblog, June 25, 2008. Archived August 29, 2008, on the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Henderson, Carter (August 1, 1956). “Ballantine Books Makes Hoax Come True”. Wall Road Journal. Archived from the original on April 27, 2002. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  4. ^ T. H. White, The Age of Scandal, Faber & Faber, 2011, ISBN 978-0571274765.

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