RARA-AVIS: Boucher / limerick porn

From: Michael Sharp ( msharp@binghamton.edu)
Date: 24 Aug 2000

I don't know a lot about Anthony Boucher beyond his being a mystery reviewer for the NYTimes and a sometime writer. I think "Bouchercon" is named for him, but I'm not even sure what "Bouchercon" is. ANYWAY, I was doing research on Kenneth Millar (Ross Macdonald) at UC Irvine and found letters from Boucher to Millar that were hilarious for one simple reason: they contained pornographic (and I mean graphic) limericks. I was expecting some kind of insightful exchange about the status of the mystery genre, and I get something along the lines of "There once was a man from Nantucket," only raunchier. One was a "tenson" -- a longish debate poem. In this one, which is in limerick stanzas, two men debate the proper object of sexual desire. Was Boucher known for this kind of "humor"???

Michael D. Sharp Assistant Professor Binghamton University (SUNY) Department of English Binghamton, NY 13902-6000
(607) 777-2418

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