|Leigh Waldron||Krantz, Judith: Scruples|
|Assignment 1: Bibliographic Description|
|1. First Edition Publication Information||Judith Krantz. Scruples. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1978.
copyright: Steve Krantz Productions
Parallel first edition, in Canada: Scruples. General Publishing Company Ltd.
|2. First Edition in Cloth, Paper, or Both?||The first American edition was published in trade cloth
|4. Pagination||234 leaves, pp.2-15[16-17]18-6264-8890-122
|5. Edited and/or Introduced?||The book is neither edited nor introduced.|
|6. Illustrated?||There are no illustrations.|
|8. General Appearance||Very good readability with large pages and wide margins.
Size of pages: 351mm by 218mm.
Size of text: 282mm by 172 mm.
Text is serif style, with each chapter having its own
numbered "title" page, bearing the number of the chapter
and the word "Scruples". The first letter of the first
word of every chapter is capitalized.
|10. Description of Paper||The book is printed on cream colored wove paper which is
yellowing very slightly around the edges. The first two
and last two leaves are cream-colored stock. There are two
or three dog-eared corners and a slight staining at the
bottom of the last several pages. Otherwise, the book is
in fairly good condition throughout.
|11. Description of Binding||No dust jacket. Yellowish-brown colored trade cloth binding,
with title stamped in black, all-capital lettering on spine.
No illustrations or lettering on the front or back covers.
There are four endpapers on cream-colored stock, two
inside the front cover and two inside the back cover.
There are no transcriptions inside either the front nor
the back covers.
Transcription on spine: |SCRUPLES|
Source: Gaskell's A New Introduction to Bibliography
|12. Title Page Transcription||Recto:
|Scruples|A NOVEL BY JUDITH KRANTZ|CROWN PUBLISHERS, INC.,
|copyright 1978 by Steve Krantz Productions|All rights
reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or
utilized in any form or by|any means, electronic or
mechanical,|including photocopying, recording,|or by any
information storage and retrieval system,|without
permission in writing from the publisher.| Inquiries
should be addressed to Crown Publishers, Inc.,|One Park
Avenue,|New York, N.Y. 10016|Printed in the united States
of America|Published simultaneously in Canada by|General
Publishing Company Limited|Designed by Shari de Miskey|
Lyrics from "Valentine" by Henri Christine, Albert
Willemetz;|English lyrics by Herbert Reynolds.|copyright
1925 Francis Salabert 1926 Warner Bros. Inc. Copyrights
renewed|All rights for the United States, Canada and Mexico
controlled by Warner Bros. Inc.|All rights reserved.
Used by permission.|Library of Congress Cataloging in
Publication Data|Krantz, Judith|Scruples|I. Title|
PZ4.K8965Sc [PS3561.R264] 813' .5'4 77-27648|
|14. Manuscript Holdings||N/A|
|15. Other||Faint stamp on inside of front cover in bluish-purple ink
reading: "University of Virginia Charlottesville."
Small gold sticker in left bottom corner of inside back
cover reading: |JUL 83|N. MANCHESTER,|INDIANA 46962|
|Assignment 2: Publication History|
|1. Other Editions:||Research indicated two parallel first editions and a book
club edition all published by Crown Publishers, Inc.:
Parallel first editions published by Crown Publishers, Inc.:
Scruples: A Novel. Judith Krantz, 1978.
Format: 474 p.; 24 cm.
Scruples: A Novel. Judith Krantz, 1978.
Format: 478 p.; 22 cm.
Book Club Edition:
Scruples: A Novel Judith Krantz, 1978.
Format: 478 p.; 24 cm.
|4. First Edition printings or impressions?||First printing: 113,000 copies printed
Second printing: 17,000 copies printed.
Third printing: 21,00 copies printed.
Fourth Printing: 20,000 copies printed.
Fifth Printing: 10,000 copies printed.
Sixth Printing: 10,00 copies printed.
Seventh Printing: 10,000 copies printed.
Eighth Printing: 7500 copies printed.
For a total of 237,500 copies printed in the first edition.
Source: Publisher's Weekly, February 27, 1978,
March 6, 1978, March 13, 1978, August 14, 1978,
|5. Editions from other publishers?||Large print editions:
Chivers, (date not provided)
Macmillan Library Reference, May 1985
Warner Books, Inc, 1986
La Costa Press, Inc, 1992
Bantam Books, 1992
Warner Books, Inc., 1987
Bantam Books, 1989
Weidenfeld and Nicolson: 1978.
Warner Books Publishing: 1978.
Source: WorldCat and Books in Print Database (Publisher's
|6. Last date in print?||Scruples is still in print as of 1999.
Source: Books in Print database (Publisher's Info link).
|7. Total copies sold?||Over 237,500 hardcover copies.
3 million paperback copies.
Source: Gale Literary Database.
|8. Sales by year?||220,000 copies sold in the first year.
Source: Publisher's Weekly,, 1978.
|9. Advertising copy:||Extensive searching of Publisher's Weekly and
The New York Times Book Review for 1978 revealed no
|11. Other promotion?||Judith Krantz launched an extensive, $50,000 promotional
campaign for Scruples. She toured the country,
holding book signings at bookstores and appearing on
television and radio shows.
|12. Performances in other media?||Miniseries:
A three part, six hour television miniseries, aired
on CBS in February, 1980.
Starring Lindsay Wagner.
Directed by Hy Averback and Alan J. Levi.
Warner Elektra Atlan Studios.
Video edition released on September 26, 1995.
Sources: www.amazon.com, Gale Literary Databases.
|13. Translations?||Scruples has been traslated into 20 different
|15. Sequels or Prequels?||One sequel:
Krantz, Judith. Scruples Two. Crown Publishers,
Inc. New York: 1992.
|Assignment 3: Brief Biography|
| Judith Tarcher Krantz was born on January 9, 1927 in New York City, New York. Her father, Jack D. Tarcher, was an advertising executive, and her mother, Mary Braeger Tarcher, was an attorney. Krantz was raised in relative affluence, and attended Wellesley College, from which she received her B.A. in 1948. While attending Wellesley College, Krantz experimented with fiction writing but gave it up when she received a B in a short-story writing class during her sophomore year.
After graduating from college, Krantz spent two years as a fashion publicist in Paris. She then accepted a job as a fashion editor for Good Housekeeping in New York City, where she remained until 1956, when she gave birth to her eldest son, Nicholas. She then reverted to freelance writing, and became a contributing writer for McCall's from 1956-1959, and for Ladies Home Journal from 1959-1971. Finally, in 1971, Krantz became contributing West Coast editor for Cosmopolitan, where she became acquainted with Helen Gurley-Brown, editor of Cosmopolitan and long-time friend of Krantz's. It was during her period as a freelance writer that Krantz "understood herself to be a journalist." Even then, it wasn't for a number of years, until she was 51 years old, that Krantz published her first novel, Scruples.
Krantz's husband Stephen, an independent film producer and author, first convinced her to try her hand at novel writing. And after her first son, Nicholas, graduated from high school, Krantz began working on her novel, writing five days a week, sometimes for six-and-a-half hours a day. She completed Scruples within nine months.
Krantz was able to convince her lawyer and family friend, Morton J. Lank low, to read over the manuscript. Lanklow told the Philadelphia Enquirer that he agreed to be Krantz's literary agent because he "knew immediately that Scruples was destined to be a bestseller." Simon and Schuster initially rejected the manuscript; however, Crown Publishers eventually obtained the rights to the book, which was published in March of 1978. In July of 1978, Scruples became a number one New York Times bestseller, and remained on the list for almost a year. Although many critics panned the book as being "escapist fantasy," it sold more than 220,000 hardcover copies and over 3 million copies in paperback. In order to publicize Scruples, Krantz launched a $50,000, cross-country promotional campaign that included book signings and talk show appearances.
Krantz has gone on to write nine other novels, including the 1992 sequel to Scruples, Scruples Two. Princess Daisy, Krantz's second novel, was expected to be such a success that six months before the hardcover edition had even been released, Bantam Books paid $ 3,208,875 to purchase the paperback rights to the novel, which was the highest price ever paid for reprint rights for a work of fiction at that point in time.
Krantz resides in Beverly Hills, California with her husband Stephen, and has released a novel as recently as 1996, when Crown Published her novel Spring Collection. And although Krantz has never achieved any level of critical acclaim for her work, she acknowledges that her novels "are not Pulitzer Prize material. . . 'If [they] were, I'd think that something terrible had happened. I know perfectly well I'm not a literary writer, I just write the way it comes naturally. For lack of another word, it is storytelling.'"
Souce: Gale Literary Database: http://www.galenet.com/servlet/GLD/...=DataType&n=10&1=d&NA=Judith+Krantz
| Ever since the publication of her first novel, Scruples, Judith Krantz has been widely recognized as the author of some of the bestselling novels of the past 20 years. However, despite her wide commercial appeal, Krantz has never been especially praised by critics for her work. Scruples was acknowledged as escapist, light reading, with a tendency towards hyperbolic descriptions of the characters (almost all of whom are spectacularly rich and good-looking) and lavish, unreal settings.
Publisher's Weekly described Scruples as a novel with a "thin plot" and the characters as having "about as much life as the mannequins at Scruples," the stylish boutique belonging to Billy Ikehorn, who is the heroine of the story. The novel is dismissed as entertaining, but on a slightly crude level, as " most of the book's big pages are filled with descriptions of the sexual activities (mostly kinky) of all concerned."
Indeed, other reviewers expressed a slight level of disgust at the emphasis placed on the sexual activity of the main characters of Scruples, and at the lack of charcter and plot development. According to Alice Turner, in the Washington Post, "All the decorations and frills are here [in Scruples. The characters are attractive enough, the settings seem authentic, the author's earnest, breathless Cosmo prose suits her subject. . . but this novel has no plot!" And Nora Johnson, in the New York Times Book Review, had this to say: "[Sex is] the most-recommended remedy for feelings of loss or emptiness in Scruples." And "[the characters] are all beautiful, thin, tan, rich, witty and aggressive; occasionally, distinguishing characteristics are pasted on for purposes of identification." Johnson claims that only two parts of the novel, where Billy describes her unhappy, overweight teenage years and when she later turns over her mansion for her friend to film a movie, elicited any feelings that the novel was realistic. Then she claims: "the rest of the time it was all just ready-to-wear sex."
Although she was criticized for her simplistic plots and emphasis on extreme beauty, wealth and power, many contemporaries praised Krantz for her eye for detail and for her ability to produce a highly successful bestseller. Krantz's editor at Crown Publishing told the New York Times: "Judy Krantz writes subtly about love, and pointedly about merchandising. She's a remarkably good novelist speaking to the center of America's venal interest." And Helen Gurley-Brown, editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, said in the New York Times Magazine: "So many people act as if it's easy to write like Judy; as if they could do it, too. . . [but] the most difficult thing in the world is to make things simple enough, and enticing enough, to cause readers to turn the page." Although there was a considerable lack of positive critical attention directed at Scruples, Krantz continued to use the formula of sex, wealth, beauty and power in her subsequent novels.
The success of Scruples eventually lead to record-breaking success on Krantz's part that inspired critics to grudgingly take notice of her enormous popularity. At an auction for the advance rights to her second novel, Princess Daisy, Bantam Publishing acquired the rights to the novel for $3,205,875, the largest sum ever paid for advance rights to a novel up until that point. Again, the novel did very well commercially, despite a lack of positive critical review.
Sources and other Additional Reviews and Articles:
Gale Literary Database:http://www.galenet.com
Book Review Index
Los Angeles Times. Sunday, May 19, 1978.
New York Times Book Review:
March 19, 1978, p14
April 29, 1979, p67
March 2, 1980, p9
January 25, 1981, p31
January 16, 1978 p.92.
April 2, 1979 p67
January 11, 1980 p78
December 12, 1980 p46
New York Post. Friday, March 3, 1978.
Washington Post. Friday, March 3, 1978. pD2.
West Coast Review of Books. March, 1978.
| The majority of critical reviews and statements about Judith Krantz have taken place in the years following the publication of Scruples, and most tend to address Krantz's formulaic style of writing, which she has stuck to since the success of her first novel. Krantz has not received subsequent critical acclaim and no academic writings about her work has been found, since it is generally agreed that her writing is not of high literary quality.
Krantz's rather static writing style and her tendency to cater to the reading public rather than critics have lead many to compare her to Jacqueline Susann, the author of Valley of the Dolls and The Love Machine, among other novels. In The New York Times Book Review, Grace Glueck notes that "Mrs. Krantz is an absolutist of the Susann persuasion. A painting is a masterpiece, or nothing, a woman is a beauty, or nobody; sex has to be the sun and the moon and the stars." And the editor-in-chief of Warner Books, Howard Kaminsky, claims "Both as promoters and novelists, Jackie and Judy are in the same tradition."
According to the Washington Post, "what Judith Krantz writes are long, panting, mildly pornographic fairy tales, rich in gossipy detail." And it is pointed out, in reviews of her later books, that Krantz simply seems to recycle old ideas and tendencies in her later novels. The Publisher's Weekly review of her 1990 novel, Dazzle, refers to Krantz as "the doyenne of dish," who, as the "erstwhile mistress of the un-put-downable novel. . . [is] never a disciple of realism." And "her [traditional] purple prose takes on ever deeper hues, and her customary parade of hyperbolic description is in constant evidence." Indeed, it seems that over the years, reflections on her early work seem favorable compared with reviews of her more recent writing. The former seems to dismiss her work as simply flowery, indulgent reading (like a "hot fudge sundae", according to one article in a 1986 Publisher's Weekly) while the latter express boredom and annoyance at her rather tired tendencies to emphasize power and beauty in her characters rather than flesh out a real plot.
However negative the critical reception of Krantz's work, it must be noted that Scruples, as her first bestseller, still receives recognition for the amount of criticism and discussion it generated when it inspired the auction that lead to the record price being paid for Princess Daisy.
Sources and other Articles and Reviews:
Gale Literary Database: http://www.galenet.com
Book Review Digest
Los Angeles Times:
July 13, 1988
August 11, 1988
New York Times Book Review:
May 4, 1986
August 28, 1988 p11
December 16, 1990 p18
May 31, 1992 p39
April 21, 1996 p25
May 16, 1986
October 19, 1990
August 3, 1988
Judith Krantz's 1978 novel Scruples was a surprise hit, bypassing critics' negative expectations to become a number one bestseller. Scruples remained at the top of the bestsellers' list for several months, despite much negative critical reception. Dismissed as "[all] ready-to-wear sex," and as a plotless, shallow example of escapism at its worst, Scruples nonetheless held wide appeal with readers everywhere. A story of fabulously wealthy, famous and good-looking people and their travels and sexual escapades, Scruples struck a chord with the imaginations and celebrity-curious minds of a mostly female audience. It is, paradoxically, the very shallowness of subject and obsession with material and sexual details condemned by critics that made Scruples such a popular novel.
Self-made millionaires and millionaires by marriage, the most beautiful socialites, and the most talented directors, all of whom engage in graphic sexual activities for each other, set the scene for Scruples. In addition to tracing the life of Billy Ikehorn, a socially inept, overweight, and poor girl from Boston as she transforms herself into a stylish beauty, the novel also follows Spider, a famous fashion photographer; Valentine, the head designer at Scruples; and Vito, one of Hollywood's top directors, who is up for an Oscar, among other high-class characters. All the characters have very high profile and lavish lifestyles. Billy and her husband, Ellis, are "the essence of what being in the great world of wealth and power is all about" (p. 113) and millions of people constantly "read about them and [see] the frequent newspaper and magazine pictures of the magnificently dressed, aristocratic, young beauty" and her older husband. Even before she opens Scruples, which is described as a "virtual club for the floating principality of the very, very rich and truly famous," Billy has already established a name for herself as the young wife of one of the most wealthy men in California.. Even the title boutique is showered with generous descriptions of its fabulously expensive and beautiful furnishings and products, and its exclusive clientele. Indeed, Krantz's intriguing descriptions of the Beverly Hills glamour scene helped make Rodeo Drive famous throughout the world, especially after it was translated into twenty different languages.
Throughout Scruples we are constantly exposed to celebrity name-dropping and let into little society "secrets." By giving readers an inside peek into the world of the very rich and glamorous, Krantz attracts a feeling of intimacy from the regular, mostly female reading public. Indeed, Krantz's rather formulaic style of writing, which was repeated in subsequent novels such as Princess Daisy and Scruples Two, has often been compared to that of Jaquelynn Susann, author of the bestseller Valley of the Dolls, and Danielle Steele. All three authors have been noted for their similar literary styles and for their tendency to heavily market their novels to the reading public rather than cater to critics. In styling their novels, Krantz, Susann and Steele use flowery descriptions of beautiful people and exotic locales to attract their mostly female audiences, the majority of whom lead lives distinctly less glamorous and fast-paced than the characters in the novels. Scruples offers an escape into fantasy lifestyles that most people never get to experience. As one reader put it, in a review on Amazon.com, "One of the big attractions of the Krantz novels are the well-researched and absorbing 'inside details' of the settings," which include the Hollywood film industry, the Beverly Hills social scene, and the Paris fashion industry. And a Vogue magazine review acknowledges: "Under Krantz's fingers, real life has a way of becoming mysterious, glamorous, legendary, sequined."
It is Scruples' attraction as a "mindless read," especially to women, that has helped it become such a success. As a reader in a review on Amazon.com acknowledges: "Krantz is not an author you read for intellectual stimulation or spiritual enlightenment. . . but she is still one of the most entertaining mass-market novelists around, especially for women." Scruples became an instant hit with the female reading public, and although it remained on the bestseller lists for only a little less than a year, and is by no means a classic example of literature, Krantz's other novels continue to rise to the top of the bestseller lists thanks to her loyal female fan base. But why and how did Scruples manage such a staggeringly quick climb to the top of the lists? Perhaps partly because Scruples was able to attract readers through its modern, lavish treatment of the old rags-to-riches story in its tale of the rise of Billy Ikehorn. Starting life as an unhappy, fat, socially inept girl, Billy eventually loses enough weight and gains enough style and wordly wisdom to become one of the richest and most popular women in Beverly Hills, California. By taking a "normal" person and then elevating her to staggering levels of beauty, wealth, and privilege, Krantz appealed to a specific reading base-namely, middle class, suburban women, usually married, and often housewives. She also appealed to the American ideal of self-made success. True, Billy must marry into money, and only then does she gain the fame and wealth that comes with the Ikehorn name, but she only does so after actively molding herself into an attractive person, both physically and socially.
Another aspect of Scruples that helped make it popular with the general, rather than critical, public, is its emphasis on sex. Following, again, in the path of such novels as Jaquelynn Susann's Valley of the Dolls, Scruples contains graphic, involved accounts of its characters' sex lives. Critics especially have noted the novel's use of sex as a selling point: Publisher's Weekly criticized the "mostly kinky" sexual activities that fill a large number of the novel's pages, and the New York Times Book Review refers to it as "all ready-to-wear sex." However, it is this very characteristic of Scruples-its emphasis on sex-that has also been one of its main selling points with the public. The consequence-free, uninvolved sex that exists for the characters of Scruples is another example of unrealistic fantasy that readers can nonetheless experience, albeit vicariously, through Krantz's novel. The attraction of the type of explicit sexual acts that are present in Scruples has also been noted by its presence in other bestsellers. According to Amazon.com, readers who read Scruples were also inclined to read novels by such authors as the aforementioned Susann and Jackie Collins, two novelists who also utilize detailed sexual themes to sell their novels. Readers also listed Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious, as another novel that they read and enjoyed. Peyton Place itself became a bestseller largely due to its somewhat revolutionary employment of sexual themes in its story of a small New England town. Although it is not quite as sexually graphic as Krantz's or Susann's novels, Peyton Place still attracted large numbers of readers who were intrigued by its treatment of sexual subjects, which was somewhat taboo in the 1950's. People were still captivated enough by the "naughtiness" of sex by the late 1970's that they were attracted to Scruples, a novel that was somewhat shocking in its descriptions of kinky sex, even for its time.
Although the novel's own subject matter and style of writing appealed to many readers, another reason it became so popular was the large amount of publicity generated by Krantz's own name and by her connections to famous family and friends. Judith Krantz is married to Stephen Krantz, a film director who is perhaps best known for his movie "Fritz the Cat", a popular adult cartoon film. Krantz also lists among her friends such people as Helen Gurley-Brown, a famous New York City socialite and original editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine. Thanks to her wealth and powerful personal connections, Krantz was able to organize an extensive, cross-country tour to promote Scruples. The tour included book signings and appearances on radio and television talk shows. Eventually, through her dedicated promotional work, and also through the controversy over the novel's popularity, Scruples became a popular choice of "light reading" with audiences who cared little about what critics had to say. Krantz herself acknowledges that she is "not a literary writer" but defends her position by saying "what I do is entertainment and I do it as well as I can." Krantz's self-defense and the backing of friends such as Gurley-Brown helped Scruples remain popular in the face of scathing critical reviews. Some of Krantz's later work, such as Princess Daisy, was serialized in Cosmopolitan, thanks to Gurley-Brown, and helped Krantz sustain her reputation as a women's writer.
Scruples debuted as a prime example of an unexpected, runaway bestseller despite its large share of detractors. Its appeal extended across the U.S. to millions of readers, striking a particular chord with female readers. Its immense popularity dumbfounded most critical reviewers, who almost unanimously wrote it off as superficial fluff. However, readers were attracted not to any particular literary qualities of the book but to its fairy tale characters and their posh, extravagant, often hedonistic lifestyles. Scruples gained Judith Krantz a devoted fan base, many of whom continued to defy critics by remaining loyal to Krantz over the years, interested in entertaining escapism rather than in intellectual enrichment. Krantz's fans, and even Krantz herself acknowledge Scruples' lack of literary merit, yet continue to champion it as an example of the guilty-pleasure novel. As one fan puts it: "Who cares if it doesn't win any awards? It's pure, unadulterated fun!"
Gale Literary Database of Contemporary Authors: www.galenet.com
Krantz, Judith. Scruples. Crown Publishers Inc., New York City 1978.
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