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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Paperback Cover Cavalcade 14: I, a Woman

Siv Holm and her siblings were regulars in British bookshops during the late 1960s and early 1970s. I suspect I first stumbled upon Siv in the early- to mid-1970s when I discovered Chelmsford's second hand market, which ran on Thursdays. There were a couple of bookstalls that sold second hand books and it was here, for 10p and 20p a time, that I picked up all the New English Library novels that have since become so collectable — the Richard Allen Skinhead novels, the biker novels of Peter Cave, Alex R. Stuart, et al, Petra Christian's Hitch Hiker, etc.

A lot of these I kept as they seemed more innocuous somehow than the sequence of reprints that began with I, a Woman by the pseudonymous Siv Holm. A translation of a genuine Danish book rather than something masquerading as a translation. The original was published in 1965 as Jeg—en kvinde in Copenhagen and was filmed in 1965. Whilst digging around for information I spotted Roger Ebert's 1967 review which says the film "exhibits the maturity of a 13-year-old cranking the handle of the penny-peepshow at a county fair. It was apparently made for the sole purpose of exhibiting the not extraordinary body of Essy Person, a young Swedish actress who resembles a cross between a skinny Sophia Loren and an ill-tempered Pekingese." As I was probably a 13-year-old at the time I read the book, I can safely assert that I'd probably have preferred the film to the book. There's not a lot of sex in the book and an awful lot of hand-wringing. The film opened in the USA in October 1966 and prompted Dell Books to publish a translation the following year.

It seems that Siv Holm was the pen-name of Agnete Thomsen (a.k.a. Nina Thomsen), but a search of the web doesn't reveal anything about the author, although that may simply be because I'm unable to find the right search terms, since any information would be in Danish. As far as I can tell, the book was originally published in two volumes in 1961 and 1963 and reprinted by Stig Vendelkaers in 1965.

I, a Man (Jeg—en mand) was published originally in 1962 and, again, reprinted by Stig Vendelkaers in 1965. The book was credited to Sverre Holm, this time the pen-name of Georg Gjedde.

Stig Vendelkaers forlag then turned the book into a series with the publication of Jeg—en elsker by Stiig Holm (also credited as Ivan Strange; 1965) and Jeg—en sømand by Otto Mogens (1966). 1966 also saw the publication of Jeg—en utro kvinde by Connie Bergquist, although I'm not sure whether this was part of the sequence. (Could it possibly be the original of I, a Prostitute, which I have been unable to track down?)

I suspect the name Holm was retained for all of the translations to keep them all together on the booksellers' shelves. I'm pretty sure some of the books were not originally credited to the authors the translations appeared under, e.g. eg—en pige by Tine Sckmedes became I, a Teenager by Tine Holm, which I have seen reviewed as having "more in common with Judy Blume than the other notorious "I" titles of the era"

I, a Woman by Siv Holm (translation of Jeg—en kvinde, Copenhagen, 1961; translated by J. W. Brown, Dell, 1967)
Mayflower 3493, 1967, 220pp.
---- [2nd imp.] 1967; [3rd imp.] 1968; [4th imp.] 1969; [5th imp.] 1969; [6th imp.] 1969; [7th imp.] 1970; [8th imp.] 1972; [9th imp.] 1973; [10th imp.] 1973;
---- [11th imp.] 1977, 220pp, 60p. Cover: photo

I, a Lover by Stiig Holm (translation of Jeg—en elsker, Copenhagen, Stig Vendelkaers forlag, 1965; New York, Dell, 1968)
New English Library 0459-00229-2, 1969, 127pp.

I, a Woman part 2 by Siv Holm (translation of Jeg—en kvinde 2, Copenhagen, 1963; New York, Dell, Mar 1969)
New English Library 0450-00429-5, 1970, 125pp, 5/-. Cover: Photo

I, a Sailor by Morgen Holm (translation of Jeg—en sømand by Otto Mogens, Copenhagen, Stig Vendelkaers forlag, 1966; New York, Dell, Aug 1969)
Mayflower 0583-11792-9, 1970
---- [2nd imp.] 1971; [3rd imp.] 1971; [4th imp.] 1972
---- [5th imp.] 1973, 203pp, 40p. Cover: photo

I, a Teenager by Tine Holm (translation of Jeg—en pige by Tine Sckmedes, Copenhagen, Stig Vendelkaers forlag, 1967; New York, Dell, Nov 1970)
Mayflower 0583-11924-7, 1971, 126pp.
---- [xth imp.] 1973.

I, a Prostitute by Nina Holm (translation, Copenhagen, Stig Vendelkaers forlag, 1967; Dell, 1971)
Mayflower, 1972, 207pp, 35p. Cover: photo
---- [2nd imp.] 1972; [3rd imp.] 1972.

I, Susanne by Susanne Holm (translation of Jeg—en elskerinde, Stig Vendelkaers forlag, 1967; Dell, 1972)
Mayflower 0583-12298-1, 1974, 125pp.

I, a Man by Sverre Holm (translation of  Jeg—en mand, Copenhagen, Stig Vendelkaers forlag, 2 vols., 1965)
Mayflower, 0583-13041-0, 1978, 223pp.

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