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September 18 , 2009

The Candy Men

The Rollicking Life and Times of the Notorious Novel Candy


In the early fall of 1958, the notorious Olympia Press in Paris published a novel entitled Candy, an erotic, Rabelaisian satire loosely based on Voltaire's Candide by one Maxwell Kenton, pseudonym of its coauthors, Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg. The novel drew the attention of the French censors, was banned, reissued by Olympia's intrepid publisher under the title Lollipop, rebanned, then again reissued. Within years it became one of the most talked-about novels of the tumultuous 1960s, selling in the millions of copies in America alone, its success prompting Hollywood to turn it into a movie.
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The hilarious, rollicking, sometimes tragic story of Candy's public career is recounted here in full. From the book's humble beginnings in late 1950s Paris through its agonizing three-year gestation (sometimes on paper napkins) and the authors' wily, often self-destructive business dealings with their equally wily French publisher, to its chaotic and controversial publication in the United States, The Candy Men follows Candy's underground then mainstream success-with unblinking scrutiny on the details, including the legal shenanigans that surrounded it, the blatant piracy that plagued it, and the star-studded cast that helped make it into one of the worst movies of all time.
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