|Claude Kendall's first published book|
a scathing critique of American culture
After Kendall successfully published an American edition of Uncle Sham (the obscenity determination didn't stick), it was announced the next year that Aaron Sussman, an ad man and book designer, had gone into partnership with Kendall (though the title of the firm remained Claude Kendall, Inc).
Altogether Claude Kendall published four Tiffany Thayer novels, Thirteen Men, Call Her Savage, Thirteen Women and An American Girl. The first three of these novels had sold over 387,000 copies by February 1933, but, unfortunately for Kendall, Thayer left him for greener publishing pastures.
Incidentally, I am going to be reviewing Thirteen Men next week, and John Norris of the Prettysinister blog will be reviewing Thirteen Women.
Kendall had other strings to his bow besides Mr. Thayer's works, however. In 1931 he published the first American edition of Octave Mirbeau's classic Decadent Movement "exposition of sadism and masochism," Torture Garden ("Tiffany Thayer's Call Her Savage is good enough, if you like them savage," quipped the Virginia Quarterly Review, "and Octave Mirbeau's Torture Garden is for those who want to be tortured").
The same year, Kendall unsuccessfully attempted to secure the American and Canadian rights to James Joyce's Ulysses, anticipating the overturning of its proscription on obscenity grounds (this occurred in 1934).
Other controversial novels published by Kendall in the early 1930s include G. Sheila Denisthorpe's Loveliest of Friends, a lesbian novel, and Frank Walford's Twisted Clay (Take a good look at the illustrations of Twisted Clay. Needless to say the jacket design is eye-catching, but also note the fine decorative motifs on the book itself).
Then there's Cecil De Lenoir's The Hundredth Man: Confessions of a Drug Addict, which was called "an excellent piece of journalistic writing," in the New York Times Book Review.
With classic publisher ballyhoo, Kendall called Lenoir a modern day Thomas De Quincey (see Confessions of an English Opium-Eater).
Kendall did find time to publish some less sensationalistic mystery novels (some of them even Simon Pure detective tales), about which I will be posting in more detail tomorrow!