Thursday, June 7, 2012

Louise Brooks - Cover Girl and Secret Muse of the 20th Century

Yesterday, I published a long article on the Huffington Post titled "Louise Brooks - Cover Girl and Secret Muse of the 20th Century." The article, along with its accompanying slideshow, explores Brooks' enduring cultural impact, especially in literature and publishing. Various works of fiction are surveyed which features the actress as a character (minor or major), or which were inspired by her, were based on her, or which reference or allude or give Brooks a literary shout-out. Prominant among them is Laura Moriarty's just released novel, The Chaperone (Riverhead), as well as Adolfo Bioy Casares' 1940 novella, The Invention of Morel (NYRB Classics), which is pictured below.

And pictured above is a screen grab of Saywer, the character from the TV show Lost, reading that very edition of The Invention of Morel with Brooks on the cover in an episode of the hit show.The connection between the novella, Louise Brooks, and Lost is further explained in the slideshow caption.

The slideshow which accompanies the article includes nearly three dozen images of Brooks on books. I titled the article "secret muse" because the actress' literary and cultural imapact is little known. Though ongoing. Indictitive of such is an image taken at the Village Voice Bookshop in Paris, France in 2011. Pictured below on the left holding my "Louise Brooks edition" of The Diary of a Lost Girl is the French translator of the Barry Paris biography (whose name escapes me at present, my apologies), myself in the middle, and on the right holding his Louise Brooks: Portrait of an Anti-Star is the French journalist and critic Roland Jaccard. Actually, that was my copy of Jaccard's book which, along with others, I carried to France so Jaccard could autograph it.

One of the other books I brought to France was one that I mentioned at the end of my Huffington Post piece. It is also one of my favorite Brooks' covers. It is Jaccards' Portrait d'une Flapper. The book was published in France, but has not been translated and published in the United States. Here is a scan of the cover.

I have gotten some really nice feed back about this article. Please do read it. AND, if you know of other literary references to Louise Brooks, please let me know. Either post something in the comments section below of email the Louise Brooks Society.


  1. Nice turn of the phrase "secret muse of the 20th Century". As certainly as her "cult" status surely evolves into "mythic" status - something she herself would elaborately loath - which of course, only fuels hastens the the process.

  2. The HuffPo article was written up on Shelf Awareness - "Louise Brooks: Book Cover Girl" at

  3. Check out this page on the Arlington, VA library website -


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