A short-lived (1968-1969) Los Angeles publishing imprint, a subsidiary of Milton Luros’s Parliament News, Inc, specializing in highbrow erotica. Many Essex House novelists were young serious writers (several of them poets), and some used scenarios drawn from sf and fantasy, including future Dystopias, as settings for their pornography. About half the 42 titles published by Essex House were sf/fantasy; they included novels by Philip José Farmer, Richard E Geis, David Meltzer (perhaps the most distinguished), Michael Perkins (1942- ) and Hank Stine (see Jean Marie Stine), of which a number were ambitious, some literary, and most somewhat joyless – even emetic – and redolent of 1960s radicalism. The unusual aspirations of this imprint are generally attributed to its young editor, Brian Kirby, who also edited the pornographic books of the sister imprint, Brandon House. [PN]
- Maxim Jakubowski. “Essex House: The Rise and Fall of Speculative Erotica” (September 1978 Foundation #14) [pp50-64: mag/]
- Michael Perkins. The Secret Record: Modern Erotic Literature (New York: William Morrow, 1976) [nonfiction: hb/]
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As my collection of this imprint has progressed over recent months, with only 4 titles required for completion, I am very pleased to add this extremely rare piece of printed ephemera, printed on 4 sides listing the titles , artwork and prices of the first 23 titles published by the press.