Forever Amber (novel)

Forever Amber (novel)

"Forever Amber" (1944) is a romance novel by Kathleen Winsor that was made into a film in 1947 by 20th Century Fox. It tells the story of orphaned Amber St. Clare, who makes her way through 17th century English society by sleeping with more and more important men.


The fifth draft of Kathleen Winsor's first manuscript was accepted for publication. The publishers promptly edited the book down to one-fifth of its original size. The resulting novel, "Forever Amber", was 972 pages long. The saga frolicked through Restoration England and vivid images of fashion, politics, bedrooms and public disasters of the time, including the plague and the Great Fire of London.

While many reviewers "praised the story for its relevance, comparing Amber's fortitude during the plague and fire to that of the women who held hearth and home together through the blitzes of World War II", others condemned it for its blatant sexual references.Citation|last=Bernstein|first=Adam|title=Kathleen Winsor, 83, 'Forever Amber' author|newspaper=The Seattle Times|date=June 1, 2003|page=A29] Fourteen U.S. states banned the book as pornography. The first was Massachusetts, whose attorney general cited 70 references to sexual intercourse, 39 illegitimate pregnancies, 7 abortions, and "10 descriptions of women undressing in front of men" as reasons for banning the novel. Winsor denied that her book was particularly daring, and said that she had no interest in explicit scenes. "I wrote only two sexy passages," she remarked, "and my publishers took both of them out. They put in ellipsis instead. In those days, you know, you could solve everything with an ellipsis."citation|last=Guttridge|first=Peter|title=Obituary: Kathleen Winsor: Author of the racy bestseller 'Forever Amber'|newspaper=The Independent (London, England)|date=May 29, 2003|page=20]

Despite its banning, "Forever Amber" was the best selling US novel of the 1940s. It sold over 100,000 copies in its first week of release, and went on to sell over three million copies.

The book was roundly condemned by Roman Catholic decency watchdogs, which helped to make it popular. One critic went so far as to number each of the passages to which he objected. The film was finally completed after substantial changes to the script were made, toning down some of the book's most objectionable passages in order to appease Catholic media critics.


*In a Tweety Bird cartoon, a nurse maid is shown reading the novel and frequently gasping in shock (but never putting the book down).

*Debs Myers began his review of the novel in "YANK", the U.S. Army newspaper: “"Forever Amber" is the story of a girl laid in the 18th century.” [Rooney, Andy, "My War", Public Affairs, 2002, p. 73.]

*In the Christmas Eve 1946 show of "The Abbott and Costello Show", Santa lists one of the reasons that Costello shouldn't get a present as him having a certain book under his bed. Lou says that it was only a book on how to change the color of tea. When Santa asks what it was called, Lou replies "Forever Amber", to which the audience roars with laughter.

*On the Burns and Allen radio show the book is often spoofed for it's blatant references usually with Gracie Allen commenting on it naively not knowing what it's all about

*The book is referred to on multiple episodes of many radio shows including The Jack Benny Program, Bob Hope Show, A day in the Life of Dennis Day, The Phil Harris and Alice Faye Show, The Fred Allen Show, and The Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy Show.

* On the debut episode of the radio show A Day In The Life Of Dennis Day, Dennis Day dresses up as the female lead character from Forever Amber for a costume party because the costume is deemed to sexy for his girlfriend to wear.

*In I Love Lucy Ricky, Fred and Ethel burn Lucy's novel, which is a thinly disguised version of their real life and Ricky says "We've changed the title of your book to 'Forever Ember'."

External links

* [,12084,771837,00.html Guardian Unlimited book review] of "Forever Amber" by Elaine Showalter, August 2002.


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