Literary Precedents for Valley of the Dolls

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Susann's most immediate precedent is probably Harold Robbins. In fact Elliot Fremont-Smith in the New York Times Book Review described Valley of the Dolls as a book that might have been written "by a slightly bashful fan" of Robbins. But there are older traditions from which Susann is working.

One is that tradition which pits the purity of the pastoral life against the corruption of urban living. This idea flourished in the nineteenth century and was one of the hallmarks of Romanticism. Another tradition Susann was working through was that of the romance or love story whose most recent incarnation is "pulp" gothic romances. This is a fiction geared toward women. The protagonists are usually women and the plot centers on lost and found love. Erich Segal, scholar and popular author himself, has said that these kinds of stories have existed since early Greek culture.

Yet Susann does...

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This section contains 495 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Valley of the Dolls Study Guide
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