sin on a tiger skin

British novelist Elinor Glyn, coined the phrase The “It” Girl about Clara Bow and wrote the erotic potboiler “Three Weeks”

Written in six weeks, it eventually sold some 5,000,000 copies, and featured a wildly romantic Balkan queen who greeted her lover from a reclining position on a tiger skin with a red rose between her teeth. The book was boycotted in Boston, blasted from pulpits, and celebrated in an anonymous ditty:

Would you like to sin

with Elinor Glyn

on a tiger skin?

Or would you prefer

to err

with her

on some other fur?

image of Eartha Kitt found here

With her red hair, green eyes, and powder-white face, she drew men in Paris and London like so many iron filings. When she was 26, four house-partying young gallants threw each other into a lake at 3 a.m., competing for her favors. This intrigued a longtime socialite bachelor named Clayton Glyn, who decided Elinor was just the girl for him.

image of Elinor Glyn found here

For the honeymoon at Brighton in 1892, Clayton hired the public baths for two days so that his “Lorelei” could “swim up and down alone, naked, her long red hair, which when uncoiled reached her knees, trailing in the water behind her.” But in a short two years all the romance had gone from their marriage.

image found here

Hollywood “discovered” Elinor Glyn in 1920, when Famous Players-Lasky offered her $10,000 and traveling expenses to write an original scenario  and to give the stars—Gloria Swanson, Rudolph Valentino and half a dozen others—her pointers on the art of love.

image of Valentino found here

Coming from the tiger skin lady, these views were strangely staid (“Touching ought to be reserved entirely for the loved one”) and sometimes cynical (“It is wiser to marry the life you like, because, after a little, the man doesn’t matter”).

During the eight years previous to her death in 1943, checks were doled out to her by her bankers, and she was free to dabble in her pet enthusiasms, automatic writing and reincarnation. She was quite certain that she had roamed the palace of Versailles during a previous existence, but apparently no one thought to ask her about her plans for the next incarnation.

The image above came from here. It really doesn’t have anything to do with Elinor Glyn but it puts me in mind of palaces and reincarnation and I thought you might like it too

“Jessie Clarke, a Melbourne social worker, daughter of diplomat Herbert Brookes and his wife, Ivy, herself the daughter of former Prime Minister Alfred Deakin, dressed up for the Centenary of Victoria celebration ball in 1934, marking the colony’s foundation. Her head-dress represents Yallourn Power Station, her cloak shows Victoria’s irrigation scheme, and her crinoline is painted with scenes of Melbourne.”

Published in: on February 18, 2010 at 7:27 am  Comments (34)  
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34 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Oh the power that a woman holds when she pouts a perfect cupids bow. Nice photies hen…

  2. I once tried swimming naked at the Brighton baths. It attracted a lot of interest, but was also removed pretty sharpish.

    • Hi Matt, welcome to the gimcrack. Is this your first visit?

      • I’ve been lurking for some time. I have you classified in my reader under “alternative”.

      • That’s a good spot for me

  3. Glyn was a babe…In that fin-de-siecle kind of way.

  4. I’ve been considering reincarnation a lot more lately myself. It would certainly explain how you can feel an instant connection with some people…like you’ve known them forever. It would also explain phobias and other quirks of human nature. We are all energy, and energy never dies….. Just a thought.

  5. Great post. For a moment I thought I must have been mistaken in thinking she was British – I hadn’t known about the Hollywood bit. I love it when beauty, wit and sex come together. Yay for Elinor!

  6. The donkey doesn’t know this book before your post!
    But he loves swimming or walking up and down naked!

    • How can you be naked when you’re covered in fur?

  7. Automatic writing might be the solution to my writer’s block but I suspect inspiration would come only with guaranteed payment.
    Or perhaps I should give pointers on the art of love? Ha!

    • I tried automatic writing once and really freaked my self out

  8. Dear Nursie this isn’t about the post i just wanted to clarify something, i love a woman who loves her Hank and i myself am an unabashed fan of him, it’s just that i spent ten years of my life, roughly age 20 to 30 emulating the man, like most aspiring shitheads, and at some point i had to metaphorically kill my father if i was ever gonna get anywhere with the typewriter, after i saw his documentary at some art house in pittsburgh i found myself crying like a baby as i drove home, i realized that he was a flawed human like the rest of us and not the guy i had put on the pedastal, the elegant wino, maybe i was a bit naive but like many he was the guy who got me through the loneliness and heartbreak of living and i love him for it, even Hank admitted he wished he could write like Celine, i think i’ve told you before that i’ve read most of what he’s written, at last count 56 books by him not counting the ones about him, i even have two signed copies one of which is chapbook from the mid 60’s, i’m a Buk geek so to speak and though he’s still near the top of my list i can objectively say that while at times he was brilliant at others he was shit, of course no one hits a home run every time up and i’ll take the good with the bad, needless to say you are one of the good ones Nursie, beautiful and with excellent taste in writers. cheers.

    • I saw that doco too. Sad but illuminating

    • Huge Hank fan here too. Was this an example of automatic writing?

  9. fascinating story, fascinating readers….

  10. Love the Anthony Newley poster – I might have to try that – “Something for the ladies” …… tee hee

  11. Jessie Clarke’s dress: ex-Mrs Affer the Third would have fully approved, not least since her favourite ball gown had the bodice accentuated by a sewn-in copy of the Bayeux Tapestry.

  12. Loved the picture of the redhead. I am a huge fan of the carpet matching the drapes. Of course, I’m also a huge fan of ladies having carpeting.

  13. Tiger skin is nice, but rabbit fur is fuzzy. I’d rather use rabbit fur. Anything to avoid rug burns. I hate rug burns. Not only are they painful, but it raises eyebrows at the gym.

  14. Ah, nothing like some fire bush to get a man through a Thursday…

  15. Love the last dress! And Eartha Kitt was so smokin’ hot!

    • the dress is great isn’t it?

  16. I spent a good few years of my 20’s completely obsessed with Clara Bow and dating a number of women who reminded me of her. Odd, considering I was in my 20’s in the 90’s, rather than the 20’s. And don’t get me started on Eartha. Or redheads.

  17. You have not disappointed Nurse. I would have been incredibly weakened in the knees had I saw the image of her swimming with the long hair tailing in the water.

  18. That last picture is gorgeous but the link doesn’t work darling.

    • Really? It’s working for me…?

  19. Very shrewd indeed to marry the life you like! Redheads know best.

  20. i wish i could write an erotic “potboiler”
    but all i get for my effort is microwaved leftovers.

  21. I would love to be in a Clara Bow Eartha Kitt sandwich I would

  22. “When she was 26, four house-partying young gallants threw each other into a lake at 3 a.m., competing for her favors.”

    I wouldn’t mind just one. LOL

    • Ha! Me too Terra

  23. An erotic consultancy? Now there’s a career move.

    • Is there room in your country town for such a thing Mitzi?

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