Krantz, Judith: Mistral's Daughter
(researched by Julia Lockhart)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
This book was first published in New York, New York in 1983 by Crown Publishers, Inc. Copyright held by Judith Krantz "All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher." Parrallel First Editions: Canada- by General Publishing Company Limited. Sources: 1st Edition of the book, Worldcat
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
My first edition is in cloth, but I could not find any information on wether all of the first editions were cloth or if some were paper as well. Sources: 1st Edition
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
531 leaves, pp. 1-8. 9-18, 19-28, 29-48, 49-64, 65-77, 78-93, 94-106, 107-119, 120-133, 134-152, 153-169, 170-189, 190-208, 209-221, 222-240, 241-258, 259-273, 274-285, 286-297, 298-309, 310-324, 325-337, 338-356, 357-375, 376-394, 395-410, 411-426, 427-442, 443-462, 463-478, 479-492, 493-506, 507-521, 522-531. Source: Inspection of the first edition
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
This book is not edited or introduced.
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
The jacket cover design was done by Paul Bacon and was photographed by Harry Langdon Photography, 1982. There is one illustration found on the first title page of the book. It is an illustartion taken form the book's jacket cover design that was designed by Paul Bacon. It is the image of a flower set in between the author's name, Judith Krantz, which appears on the top of the flower and the title of the book, which appears on the bottom of the flower. Source: Inspection of the first edition.
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
The presentation of the text is attractive, it is well printed and the text is of a readable size. The pages have become a little bit yellowed with age but they have no tears and are holding up very well. The front of the jacket has a pink background, with Judith Krantz written in black lettering at the top of the cover and Mistral's Daughter written in white lettering at the bottom of the cover. The jacket is a little bit yellow at the edges due most probably to wear. In the top corner of the jacket, it is slightly ripped but on the whole this jacket is in great condition. There is an illustration of a flower in between the two words. The flower has red petals and a black stem. the spine of the jacket also has a pink background. The authors name is written in black lettering on the left hand side of the spine, while the title of the book is written in white lettering on the right hand side of the spine. The word "Crown" appears on the bottom of the spine, to indicate the publisher. This word is written in black lettering that is smaller than the lettering for the authors name and the title of the book. The back of the jacket shows a black and white photograph of the author that takes up the entire page. The image of the flower is reproduced on the inside of the front and back covers,and on the first title page. The height of the page is 22.8cm and the width of the page is 15.2cm, while the height of the text is 18.5cm and the width of the text is 11.2cm. The size of the type is 91R. The cover is in very good condition. The spine and approximately one inch of the front and back covers are red cloth, while the rest of the cover is black. The lettering on both the spine and the front cover is imprinted silver lettering. The front cover shows the signature of the author in silver. IT is located in the bottom right hand corner of the front cover. The authors name appears in block lettering on the left hand side of the spine, and the title of the book appears on the right hand side of the spine in the same block lettering. Both of these are silver block lettering. The word, "Crown", refering to the publisher, also appears on the spine at the bottom in silver block lettering. Source: Inspection of the first edition and Gaskell's, A New Introduction to Bibliography (1972, p.238), The help documentation for ENTC 312.
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The paper that was used to make this book is slightly rough and has yellowed slightly with age. The paper is holding up very well for it does not have any tears. The yellowing of the pages is uniform. The texture of the paper is even, though slightly rough. Source: inspection of the first edition, The help documentation for ENTC 312.
11 Description of binding(s)
The spine of the book is produced in a red cloth with silver block lettering. This red color continues onto the front and back covers. It covers about one inch of the front and back covers. The rest of the front and back covers is covered in a black cloth that is less rough than the red cloth of the spine. The black almost seems like cardboard. In the bottom right hand corner of the front cover, the authors signature has been reproduced in silver lettering. On the spine there is the authors name, the title of the book and the word "Crown", indicating the publisher, all of which are in silver block lettering. The end papers have the image of the flower reproduced mulitple times in light pink. Source: inspection of the first edition. For the colors I used Gaskell's, A New Introduction to Bibliography (1972, p.238). The help documentation for ENTC 312.
12 Transcription of title page
Transcription of the recto title page: JUDITH KRANTZ|[illustration of a flower]|MISTRAL'S DAUGHTER|Crown Publishers, Inc.[dot]New York[dot]1983. Transcription of the verso title page: Copyright[copyright symbol]MCMLXXXII by Judith Krantz|All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced|or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,|including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage| and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.|Published by Crown Publishers, Inc.,|One Park Avenue, New York, New York 10016 and simultaneously in Canada| by General Publishing Company Limited|Printed in the United States of America[skipped line]Grateful acknowledgment is hereby made|to the New World Music Corporation for permission|to reprint lyrics from "Someone to Watch Over Me,"|copyright 1926([copyright symbol]renewed) by New World Music Corporation.[skipped line]All rights reserved.|Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data|Krantz, Judith.|I.Title.|PS3561.R264M5 1983 813'.54 82-17966|ISBN 0-517-54906-9|Design by Camilla Filancia| 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1|First Edition. Sources: inspection of the first edition, Gaskell's, A New Introduction to Bibliography (1972, pp.332-338, The help documentation for ENTC 312.
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
I could not find this.
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
The author dedicates this book on the page after the verso title page. This dedication reads, "For Ginette Spanier/ Who opened the doors of Paris for me./ With much love and the memory of many years of friendship./ For Steve/ Who has all my love./ This book could never have been written without him." On the inside cover of this book, the first owner has signed her name in black pen. It reads "Kathly Keene- 1982". Sources: 1st Edition
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
There was a Book Clud Edition printed by Crown Publishers. The first edition was 531 pages in length, but the book club edition was only 500 pages in length. Sources: WorldCat
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
There were at least three printings of the book. There were 250,000 books printed initialy and as of the week of December 3rd, 1982 there had been a third printing of the book, bringing the number of books in print to 310,770. Sources: Publishers' Weekly: vols 222, 223.
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
There were several editions of Mistral's Daughter that were released by other publishers: Bantam: 1983, 1985, 1992 Chivers Press [Bath, England]: 1983, 1995, 1996 Inner Circle: 1988 Sidgwick and Jackson [London, England]: 1983 Corgi [London, England]: 1984 Large-type Books: Thorndike Press, 1982 Sources: Worldcat
6 Last date in print?
As of 1997 the book was still in print by Bantam Books in Mass Market, however at this time the book is not in print. Sources: Books In Print, Titles, 1996-1997: vol 7 L-Q and Books in Print on the UVA web.
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
This information was not available, however in 1982, the year that the book was released the book was at number five on the bestseller list for the year and sold 295,045 copies. Sources: Bowker's Annual 1982
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
In 1982, the year that Mistral's Daughter was released it went to number five on the bestseller list for the year and sold 295,045 copies. The book was sold for $15.95. The sales figures for the years after 1982 were not available. Sources: Bowker's Annual 1982
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
There was an advertisment in Publishers' Weekly the week of August 20th, 1982. It was a two sided ad with the front side appearing as the front cover of Publishers' Weekly. On the front cover there was a picture of the author and a picture of the first edition on a black background. On the back side of the ad was a full page ad with the title of the book at the top and the quotation, "Three passionate women and one titanic man of genius. . ." The ad goes on to explain a little bit about the plot of the book. Underneath this it says, "Now get ready for Judith Krantz's newest and best blockbuster- Mistral's Daughter!", with a picture of the book. The ad says what television shows the author will appear on, among them; David Letterman and The Today Show. This ad also informs the the stores how they can get a special Mistral's Daughter order form, to "speed delivery to your store". It also states that Mistral's Daughter is "A dual main selection of the literary guild" and a "Main selection Doubleday book club". There was a second ad that appeared in Publishers' Weekly the week of November 19, 1982 on page 27. The ad is a full page ad from Crown Publishers. It is shown as a letter from Carl Apollonio to the booksellers. It says, "Make sure that you have plenty of stock on the following books so/ that you may benefit from our advertising and your own additional/ co-op advertising." this is followed by a list of Crown books, with Mistral's Daughter appearing as the top book in the list. Sources: Publishers' Weekly vol 222
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
Judith Krantz appeared on "The Today Show", "Merv Griffin", "David Letterman", "PM Magazine", "Hour Magazine". She also was interviwed for People, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, "W", Parade, Diversion, and was featured on radio and television in many major cities in the United States including; New York, San Francisco, Huston, Atlanta, Boston and L.A. There was a $150,000 initial media blitz and a national advertising/promotional campaign. Crown made color posters which they sent to the stores that ordered the book. There was also a trade promotion kit made for the stores. Sources: Publishers' Weekly; Vol 222
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
Rosemary Anne Sisson rewrote Mistral's Daughter as a television screen play. The mini-series was broadcast from 9/24/84 to 9/26/84 and then was put onto videocassette which was released in 1984 by Mistral's Daughter Productions. The executive producer was Steve Krantz. There was a recording made of the book by Durkin Hayes Publications. The book was put onto two cassettes that were read by Adrienne Barbeau. On the cassette the book is abridged. Sources: Worldcat
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
There were many different translations produced of this book. In Spanish: La Hija del Pintor, Buenos Aries: Emece Editores, 1983 La Hija de Misrtal, Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona: Plaza and Janes, 1983 La Hija de Mistral, Bracelona: Ediciones Orbis, 1988 La Hija de Mistral, Mexico: Edivision, 1983 In Romanian: Fiica lui Mistral, Bucurestii: Editura Orizontur, 199u In Polish: Corka Mistrala, Warszawa: Da Capo, 1995 Corka Mistrala, Warszawa: "Alma-Press", 1992 In Japanese: Misutoraru no musume, Tokyo: Shinchosha, 1984 In Portugese: A Filha de Mistral, Rio de Janerio: Editora Record, 1982 In German: Mistrals Tochter, Munchen: Blanvalet, 1984 In Chinese: Ssu Sheng nu, Taipei: Huang Kuan Ch'u pan she, 1983 In French: L'amour en heritage, Paris: Stock, 1984 In Italian: La Figlia di Mistral, Milano: A. Mondadori, 1984, 1983 La Figlia di Mistral, Milano: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, 1982, 1983 Sources: WorldCat
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
N/A
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
N/A
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
(Please see the database entry on Scruples for a bibliographic overview of Judith Krantz) Judith Krantz wrote Mistral's Daughter after the blockbuster success of her first two novels, Scruples and Princess Daisy. The experiences that Krantz had prior to becoming a novelist are clearly seen in Mistral's Daughter. She spent a year in France after graduating from Wellesley College, there she gained her first exposure to the inner workings of the fashion world by working in a public relations agency in the French fashion industry. Later she would go on to work as a contributing editor for Cosmoploitan and as a fashion accessories editor for Good Housekeeping (Current Biography- 1982). This knowledge of France and of the world of haute couture fashion helped her to have the accuracy of detail that she achieves in Mistral's Daughter. "She captures the feeling of Paris in the early 1920's with the efficiency of a writer who has put in time at research", writes Anatole Broyard in a review of the book that appeared in the New York Times on December 8th of 1982. (New York Times Book Review, taken from the New York Times web page). Krantz once said to the Washington Post, "I am a stickler for detail" (Contemporary Authors), as Broyard's review shows, she clearly exhibits this focus on detail in Mistral's Daughter. This book seems to continue with the mold that Krantz set in her first two novels, ". . .all of Krantz's novels have stuck to the popular formula behind her first two novels." She is a self-proclaimed entertainer, "What I do is entertainment and I do it as well as I can", she told the Los Angeles Times, (Contemporary Authors). She knows that her novels are not going to win Pulitzer Prizes, "If [they] were, I'd think something terrible had happened", (Contemporary Authors), and while there have been some criticisms of her books, she seems to take it in stride, saying, "If you deal in the world of glamour, and that's my turf . . . then you're not taken seriously as a writer, and everyone focuses on how much money you make. But I want to make something very plain- I'm not complaining. Because I chose my turf, and you can't complain when you get a little flack and you knew to expect it." (Current Biography- 1982). Her books may not be destined to end up on required school reading lists, and they may not be considered high literature, but she and everyone else seem to agree that she is very good at what she does. Jean Strous of Newsweek said, "Judith Krantz knows what she is doing, and she does it well" (Current Biography- 1982). Mistral's Daughter appeared as a made for T.V mini-series that was produced by Judith Krantz's husband Steve, (WorldCat), who is a movie producer (Current Biography- 1982). Rosemary Anne Sisson wrote the screenplay and it aired from 9/24/84 to 9/26/84 (WorldCat). Sources: WorldCat New York Times Book Review Archives on the Web http://www.nyt.com Current Biography 1982 Contemporary Authors: New Revision Series, vol. 66
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
When Mistral's Daughter made it's debut in 1982, it was widely recognized as abiding by the same formula that had made her first two novels so successful. The novel offer's up an escape for the reader with its beautiful characters and enchanting settings. It is around this issue of the book as escapist entertainment, that the critics are divided. In a 1982 review of the book, Publisher's Weekly (vol. 222) says, "Krantz, no question, is a master chef when it comes to blending the ingredients of popular fiction", and many other critics agree. Anita Brookner, a critic from the London Review of Books wrote that she, "did not believe a single word of it. But by the end I was ready to turn in my badge and concede that many people will be delighted to see myth and reality so artfully combined." While many reviews praised Krantz for her ability to write great popular fiction, some reviwers criticized Krantz for the book's length, stereotypical charaters and adherence to the popular fiction model that had worked so well for her twice before. Anatole Broyard, wrote in hid December 8, 1982 review for the New York Times, that, "a book that is in effect written without what might be called a style, begins to tire the reader after a few hundred pages. Everything in the world has a style - except a certain kind of popular novel". This review, when looked at in conjunction with the reviews presented before, showthe division among critics about this novel. The division seems to be based upon whether or not the critic chose to look at the novel for what it is, popular fiction meant as entertainment, or as a book that needs to be looked at with a critical eye towards literary merit. Krantz has been quoted as saying, "I know perfectly well that I'm not a literary writer, I just write the way it comes naturally. For lack of another word it is storytelling" (Gale Literary Database), which suggests that she knows that her books need to be looked at through the lens that one might look at a weekly Monday night sitcom. It is the critics that look through that lens that come away from the book with a positive feeling. In this novel Krantz brings up the issue of anti-Semitism in WWII Europe, critics received this issue in very different ways. Some thought that this more serious addition added depth to her novel and thus made it better work than her first two novels. Michele Slung who wrote a review for Washington Post Book World on November 7, 1982, was of the opinion that Krantz's inclusion of the anti-Semitism issue gave her novel a new dimension and warmth not seen in her first two books. "Her interest in the history of the Jews of Provence . . . gives an unexpected dimension to the surface froth of bohemian revels and fashion layouts." However, not every critic agreed with her, Anatole Broyard of the New York Times wrote that the anti-Semitism issue was, "too tricky an issue to be dealt with an atmosphere of sentimental cliches." Mistral's Daughter, as a popular fiction novel was, on the whole received positively by critics and as we see from it's best selling status, the public liked it as well. Some critics however, shunned the novel for it's escapist subject matter and lack of depth. Sources: Galenet Literary Databases http://www.galenet.com Washington Post Archives online http://www.washintonpost.com/wp-adv/archives/front.htm Readers Guide to Periodical Literature, March 1982- February 1983 Book Review Index Volume 4 I-K, 1965-84 Bestseller Index by Keith L. Justice Publisher's Weekly, Volume 222, October 15, 1982, P. 48 Publisher's Weekly, Volume 224, September 23, 1983, P. 71 London Review of Books, Volume 5, June 2, 1983, P. 20 Washington Post Book World, November 7, 1982 New York Times Book Review, January 2, 1983 Los Angeles Times, November 26, 1982 Times (London), May 13, 1983
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
When Mistral's Daughter made it's debut in 1982, it was widely recognized as abiding by the same formula that had made her first two novels so successful. The novel offer's up an escape for the reader with its beautiful characters and enchanting settings. It is around this issue of the book as escapist entertainment, that the critics are divided. In a 1982 review of the book, Publisher's Weekly (vol. 222) says, "Krantz, no question, is a master chef when it comes to blending the ingredients of popular fiction", and many other critics agree. Anita Brookner, a critic from the London Review of Books wrote that she, "did not believe a single word of it. But by the end I was ready to turn in my badge and concede that many people will be delighted to see myth and reality so artfully combined." While many reviews praised Krantz for her ability to write great popular fiction, some reviwers criticized Krantz for the book's length, stereotypical charaters and adherence to the popular fiction model that had worked so well for her twice before. Anatole Broyard, wrote in hid December 8, 1982 review for the New York Times, that, "a book that is in effect written without what might be called a style, begins to tire the reader after a few hundred pages. Everything in the world has a style - except a certain kind of popular novel". This review, when looked at in conjunction with the reviews presented before, showthe division among critics about this novel. The division seems to be based upon whether or not the critic chose to look at the novel for what it is, popular fiction meant as entertainment, or as a book that needs to be looked at with a critical eye towards literary merit. Krantz has been quoted as saying, "I know perfectly well that I'm not a literary writer, I just write the way it comes naturally. For lack of another word it is storytelling" (Gale Literary Database), which suggests that she knows that her books need to be looked at through the lens that one might look at a weekly Monday night sitcom. It is the critics that look through that lens that come away from the book with a positive feeling. In this novel Krantz brings up the issue of anti-Semitism in WWII Europe, critics received this issue in very different ways. Some thought that this more serious addition added depth to her novel and thus made it better work than her first two novels. Michele Slung who wrote a review for Washington Post Book World on November 7, 1982, was of the opinion that Krantz's inclusion of the anti-Semitism issue gave her novel a new dimension and warmth not seen in her first two books. "Her interest in the history of the Jews of Provence . . . gives an unexpected dimension to the surface froth of bohemian revels and fashion layouts." However, not every critic agreed with her, Anatole Broyard of the New York Times wrote that the anti-Semitism issue was, "too tricky an issue to be dealt with an atmosphere of sentimental cliches." Mistral's Daughter, as a popular fiction novel was, on the whole received positively by critics and as we see from it's best selling status, the public liked it as well. Some critics however, shunned the novel for it's escapist subject matter and lack of depth. Sources: Galenet Literary Databases http://www.galenet.com Washington Post Archives online http://www.washintonpost.com/wp-adv/archives/front.htm Readers Guide to Periodical Literature, March 1982- February 1983 Book Review Index Volume 4 I-K, 1965-84 Bestseller Index by Keith L. Justice Publisher's Weekly, Volume 222, October 15, 1982, P. 48 Publisher's Weekly, Volume 224, September 23, 1983, P. 71 London Review of Books, Volume 5, June 2, 1983, P. 20 Washington Post Book World, November 7, 1982 New York Times Book Review, January 2, 1983 Los Angeles Times, November 26, 1982 Times (London), May 13, 1983
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
There is not a specific formula for writing a "bestseller". Books reach the heights of bestseller lists for many reasons. The author might be an author who has reached celebrity status like Danielle Steel or Jackie Collins. Perhaps the book provides an escape from the regularity of everyday life. The book may have been promoted heavily or was riding the wake of a previous best seller by the same author. Whatever the reason, and there are many possibilities, some books do make it to the illustrious status of "bestseller", while others fall by the wayside. Judith Krantz's third novel, Mistral's Daughter, is a prime example of popular, escapist fiction, that despite its lack of literary merit successfully made it onto the top ten bestseller list for it's publication year. When we analyze the factors that contributed to this book's immense popularity, namely; the celebrity of the author, the author's use of a popular formula for writing escapist romance novels, the cultural environment of the decade in which the book was published and the popularity of the "trashy", romance novel, we see that this book successfully illustrates one formula by which many popular fiction novels of the 1980s and 1990s rose to become bestsellers. The publication of Judith Krantz's romantic, exotic, glamorous novel, Mistral's Daughter, in 1982, could not have come at a better time. The decade that we affectionately call the "Eighties" was filled with a culture that adored success, money, celebrity and glamour. The public was infatuated with those that lead fantasy lives, as evident by the popularity of television shows like Dallas, The Love Boat and Dynasty, and the fascination that the western world had with the July 29, 1981 marriage of Prince Charles to Diana Spencer (inthe80s.com). Even President Reagan had been a star on the silver screen. People were becoming richer and thus more value seemed to be being placed upon image. The invention of MTV made the music world more image-conscious, making Madonna into a super star (The 80s: Music Video and Madonna by Todd Slaughter). Prices were rising, the average price of a house went from $86,159.00 in 1980 to $123,229.00 by 1984 and average income rose from $11,321.00 in 1980 to $13,129.00 in 1986 (inthe80s.com). The novel Mistral's Daughter plays directly into this culture of glamour and luxury. It is filled with extraordinarily beautiful characters that leap off the page with their dynamic personalities and exotic lifestyles. The settings of Paris, New York, Rome and Provence all conjure up images of decadent lifestyles that only the lucky few come to have. The family at the center of Krantz's novel, Mistral's Daughter, is comprised of three illegitimate women, Maggy, Teddy and Fauve, however this tainted background does not hinder them from becoming famous and successful. On the one hand Krantz has made these women's lives charmed, but on the other hand, she has provided enough scandal in their lives to make them interesting to her audience. For instance, Maggy and her daughter Teddy fall in love with the same man, Julien Mistral, a famous French painter, and Teddy ends up having his child. In many ways Krantz's novels, Mistral's Daughter included, can be put into the same class as the scandalous newspaper the National Inquirer, because both the book and the newspaper rely on the public's fascination with sex and scandal. In the "Eighties" the television shows, Dallas, The Love Boat and Dynasty reigned on the top ten charts. In the 1981-1982 year Dallas took the first two spots, with the humorous, romantic series Love Boat coming in at number seventeen on the "Top Twenty Television Programs" list (inthe80s.com). In 1982, the same year that Mistral's Daughter was published, Dallas was at number two, Dynasty was at number five and Love Boat came in at number ten. By the 1983-1984 season, Dallas was number one again, with Dynasty hot on its heals at number two and Love Boat was back down to number seventeen (inthe80s.com). The immense popularity of these shows illustrates the public's fascination with stories about wealth, love, scandal and glamour. Dallas became a phenomenon in the United States in the 1980s. In an article by David Martindale entitled, "The Summer of Who Shot JR" on the Dallas Online web-site, Linda Gray is quoted as saying, "I still hear stories from people I run into who tell me wonderful stories about their Friday evenings and how we entertained them for all those years." People were infatuated with this series in the same way that people today love television shows like 90210 and ER. These television dramas that allow us to enter a fantasy world for an hour or two entice us because we can escape into mindlessness for a moment when we watch them. People like to be entertained thus the invention of the novel, the theatre and consequently movies and television. We like to enter a fantasy world for a while and have a fascinating story told to us, this is precisely what books like Mistral's Daughter allow us to do. By reading them we drift off and enter the intoxicatingly beautiful, glamorous world of modeling that the Lunel women exist in. We get to join them on the journey of their lives that take them to Paris, New York and beyond, and in so doing we leave our own, perhaps ordinary lives for a while. Mistral's Daughter is a prime example of the use of a formula to make a novel a best seller, Publisher's Weekly wrote in a 1982 review of the book that, "Krantz, no question is a master chef when it comes to blending the ingredients of popular fiction." Krantz knew the culture that she was writing for, specifically she knew that people wanted to be entertained, "What I do is entertainment" (Contemporary Authors), and she knew that they wanted to be entertained with stories about beautiful, glamorous, rich characters who live romantic lives. The desire for this kind of entertainment in the 1980s can been seen in the popularity of the television shows Dallas and Dynasty, which chronicle the lives of rich, stylish families who are involved with the oil business. This story line seemed to catch the viewers' attention and feed their desire to escape into a world of fantasy. "Soap Opera Digest" wrote about Dynasty, that it, "teaches about clothes, about horses, about champagne, caviar and cars. . . . Looking at Dynasty, you learn about style, even if it's not your style." (Lee Dynasty Page). We as people like to escape for a while into lives that are not our own, lives that are not ordinary in the least, glamorous lives, filled with scandal and beautiful people. Dynasty and Dallas offered this type of escape for the viewer in the same way that Mistral's Daughter offered it for the reader. The characters in the book, lead us through their lives, and from them we learn about modeling agencies in New York, the art world in France from the 1920s onward, the romantic country side landscape of Provence, as well as passionate love and of course sex. All of these elements that saturate books from authors like Judith Krantz, Danielle Steel and Jackie Collins only add to the book's eventual popularity. Some of the books of Jackie Collins and Judith Krantz are often compared because of their content and adherence to one of the popular fiction formulas of writing a book about beauty, sex, scandle and glamour which can then be promoted heavily based upon the famous name of the author. Collins deals with the lives of beautiful people and like Krantz she often places her characters in the world of Hollywood (Database entry for Jackie Collins' Hollywood Wives). Even though Krantz varied the beauty, sex, Hollywood, formula slightly with Mistral's Daughter by changing the setting to Europe and New York, she still includes many of the items associated with this kind of romance novel. These popular ingredients seem to sell books and so these authors use them time and time again, often getting criticized by reviewers for doing so. Readers like escapist fantasy and even though critics may criticize books in the escapist fantasy genre for being over the top, readers buy and enjoy these books over and over again. Anatole Broyard, who wrote a review of Mistral's Daughter for the New York Times in 1982 wrote, "I began to grumble to myself. Just how beautiful can a woman be? Why do popular novels strain so at beauty? . . . It's a dull kind of romanticism- or is it more like snobbery?" Broyard dislikes Krantz's excessive use of extremes in the novel to describe the Lunel women's beauty. "There were the hundred and fifty models in New York who were the pick of the loveliest girls in all of America . . . each a superb champion with her own special beauty, and then there was Teddy Lunel. He had never heard a better description of her than one he remembered reading in college, "O thou art fairer then the evening air, Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars," a line of Marlow's," (Mistral's Daughter, P. 245). It is for this portrayal of lives filled with excessive beauty and celebrity, however, that readers like the book. One reader reviewed the book on Amazon.com writing, "It is true that at points it was farfetched, but isn't that why we read? To have something that we have not yet experienced in the physical. . . ." (Reader review on Amazon.com). Judith Krantz writes a certain type of novel adhering to the same formula that has made her first two books bestsellers, ". . . all of Krantz's novels have stuck to the popular formula behind her first two novels." (Galenet.com database). Judith Krantz writes a certain kind of novel, a sexy, glamorous, escapist fantasy, thus, when people buy her books they are buying a type. They are buying a reliable book that they know will resemble in some way the books that they have read, and enjoyed before. In modern culture there are a few writers that this is true of; Danielle Steel and Jackie Collins among them, to whose books readers turn when they want to be entertained reliably. There is no mystery, the reader knows what he or she is getting when they buy a book of this sort and therefore there is no risk involved. For this reason, time and time again we see these authors on the best seller lists even if the book that became a best seller was not thought of as being quite as good as the other books by the author. This is the case with Mistral's Daughter. Mistral's Daughteris an example of a book that made it to the bestseller list, but was widely forgotten just a few years after it's initial publication indicating that it was not as popular as Krantz's previous two books, Scruples and Princess Daisy. Tom Shales of the Washington Post wrote in 1984, just two years after the initial publication of Mistral's Daughter, that, "People have described the book ? one of those best sellers that have slipped everyone's mind ? as ?racy'". The fact that this book was considered by a critic to be widely forgotten, further illustrates the way in which a book written by a continuously popular novelist, which does not have as much entertainment or literary value as the author's previous books, will rise to become a bestseller partly because of its author. This phenomenon happens from time to time with most popular fiction novelists. Even such powerhouse producers of entertainment fiction as Danielle Steel and Steven King, are not immune to writing a novel that is not as good as their others. However, their books remain on the bestseller lists, just like Judith Krantz's Mistral's Daughter, because they are fueled by the celebrity and well known name of the author. Mistral's Daughter teaches us much about bestsellers that fall under the heading of "escapist, romance novels". In part, the novel became so popular, because of Krantz's name, which is one way for a book to reach the heights of the best seller lists. However, Krantz also crafts a novel that includes many of the elements of entertainment, escapist fiction that make books in this genre so popular among readers. Mistral's Daughter is a story that the reader can get swept up in. While reading this book, the reader can turn off the academic side of their brain and enjoy the story simply to enjoy it. The story intrigues us with its scandal and it's love scenes. It warms our hearts with its stories of love and it takes our imaginations on a trip to the dramatic settings of Paris, Provence and New York. The popularity of this book illustrates the effectiveness of this combination of elements. This book, like others in this genre is written to entertain and thus it is well received by the public, not for its literary merit, but for its entertainment value. Mistral's Daughter also illustrates the way in which an author plays into the culture that they are writing for. This knowledge of the interests of the culture increases the author's ability to write a novel that will interest the people of that time. Judith Krantz had previously written for Cosmopolitan and had been involved in the fashion industry, therefore she had the ability and the knowledge to write effectively about the world of fashion. This novel illustrates for us the way in which a popular fiction novel of the escapist genre can mix together some important ingredients like the culture of the time, the author's name and the liberal use of glamour, beauty and interesting setting to propel a novel to bestseller status. SOURCES: Mistral's Daughter by Judith Krantz Help Documentation for Assignment Five Database entries: Beisswanger's Database entry on Hollywood Wives by Jackie Collins Duvall's Database entry on Hollywood Husbands by Jackie Collins Karnaszewki's Database entry on Wings by Danielle Steel Galbavy's Database entry on Fine Things by Danielle Steel Internet Sites: inthe80s.com http://www.inthe80s.com Lexis Nexus Dallas Online http://www.DallasOnline.cjb.net/ http://members.xoom.com/_XMCM/DallasOnline/Inside_Dallas/shot.htm Once Upon a Time in the 80s http://www.engl.virginia.edu/~enwr1016/index.htm http://www.engl.virginia.edu/~enwr1016/tas6e/madonna.htm Dynasty Page http://www.partypup.com/dynasty.htm Dublin City University Online http://www.dcu.ie/ Dallas Episode Guide http://www.virtuallot.com/cmp/vault/classic/c104e.htm
You are not logged in. (Sign in)