Pandora in Blue Jeans



优雅金属。Photo: Larry Smith.

The photograph captioned "Pandora in Blue Jeans" is one of the most widely circulated portraits of a woman in history.Like most people,I first saw it on the back of a pulpy paperback book.A black-and-white fifties author photo that seems like a snapshot,这是一幅侧面图,一位身材结实的年轻女子穿着时髦的布法罗格子衬衫和男式牛仔裤,sitting at a table with a typewriter on it in what looks like a kitchen.She's not wearing makeup,her hair is pulled back in a lumpy ponytail,and she's leaning forward with her hands folded anxiously or pensively in front of her face,所以我们看不到她长什么样。There's a half-smoked cigarette in the ashtray next to her typewriter and a messy stack of papers behind it.她盯着她的写作,and she seems not to know or care that the photographer is there.

一些作者的照片发展了他们自己的生活,and those are often the ones that bend a gender or pose a challenge.Perhaps the first of these was the engraved daguerreotype of Walt Whitman from the 1855 edition ofLeaves of Grass.The book didn't disclose Whitman's name on the title page,但这其中包括了他的全页头像作为个人欢迎,his shirt unbuttoned and his undershirt showing,a hand on his hip,a hand in his pocket,his gaze direct,his head cocked.“我看起来很华丽,”他后来谈到这张照片时说,"as if I was hurling bolts at somebody—full of mad oaths—saying defiantly,去死吧!”炫耀的,yes,without a doubt,但是挑战的方向很难理解。Is he really saying to hell with us,or is he defying us to look away?Does he want his lightning bolt to fatally pierce us,or does he just want to electrify us?

For his authorial debut almost a hundred years later,1947年第一版的防尘套Other Voices,Other Rooms,杜鲁门·卡波特更喜欢惠特曼,他把自己背在沙发上。one hand on his stomach and one on his crotch,and looking up at the viewer with a knowing gaze.Hilton Als reads this author photograph as both a metamorphosis and an expression of desire.艾尔斯在一篇文章中写道,卡波特的形象使她成为“一个有风格的美国女人”。White Girls,and "the woman he became in this photograph—itself better written thanOther Voices,Other Rooms—wanted to be fucked by you and by any idea of femininity that had fucked you up."

“穿蓝色牛仔裤的潘多拉”厨房餐桌上的女人无疑被女性化搞得一团糟,就像所有女人一样,but she does not appear to want to be fucked by it or by us.的确,she doesn't seem to want anything from us at all.If Capote's photo is famously seductive and come-hither,"Pandora in Blue Jeans" is famously unsexy,告诉我们离开。在这十年中最有性和最成功的一本书后面流传,格蕾丝·metalious的丑闻1956年超级畅销书佩顿广场,"Pandora in Blue Jeans" represents a white girl's rejection of white-girl conventions,这是一个前所未有的退出主流商业女性肖像画的选择,尽管很少被模仿,但它仍然广受欢迎,并成为一个不太可能的女性形象,她的生活似乎是由平淡无奇的遗忘构成的,unremarkable domesticity,完全堕落的思想。

It's an icon that doesn't quite fit with Als's compelling account of gender and author photos at midcentury,which focuses on a higher class of author.In contextualizing Capote's pose,ALS讲述了野心勃勃的文学女性为了被认真对待而表现出某种焦虑拖累的故事:“1947年,妇女不出版书籍。So determined to be authors were they—Jean Stafford,Carson McCullers,玛格丽特·杨,say—that they buttoned themselves up on dust jackets in some Hemingway-influenced image of a male American author." This gendered story of authorial aspiration might explain Capote's self-presentation—Als suggests that as a man he ironically had more room to be womanly—but it hardly explains that of Grace Metalious.She was aspiring to a very different kind of authorship than Stafford's,McCullers's,or Young's—less glossyNew Yorker,more high-acid pulp paperback—and her homely mise-en-scène of cheerful curtains and pleasant potted plants is worlds away from Hemingway.

Still,the woman in "Pandora in Blue Jeans" is bending a gender and posing a challenge.但是她的角度是什么,and what is her challenge?

“穿着她的蓝色牛仔裤,运动鞋,and flannel shirt," Ardis Cameron claims inUnbuttoning America: A Biography of "Peyton Place,""Metalious offered women a sartorial counterpart to the antiestablishment Beats." Cameron is right that Metalious's clothes overlapped with the Beats' (and,like theirs,prefigured grunge),but this account of what the image offered doesn't seem exactly right either.Like Jack Kerouac,Metalious was a Franco-American from a New England mill town whose literary persona depended on an outsider status.But her style seems less a woman's answer to the countercultural clothes of the self-consciously subversive male Beats,who bought their working-class castoffs in thrift stores on road trips,and more a reflection of what ordinary housewives actually wore—at least the ones who weren't wearing pearls while vacuuming,就像麦迪逊大街的幻想一样。In the fifties,蓝色牛仔裤可以参考Kerouac,詹姆斯迪恩or Marilyn Monroe,but in this photograph they are something utterly uncinematic: the unfraught,unstudied,每天不费吹灰之力借你丈夫穿的工作服,thus giving a literal meaning to the phrase "effortless style."

Though Cameron is alert to the image's countercultural undertones,她认为这幅画的主要吸引力在于metallious作为一个平凡的妻子和母亲的地位与小说中对虐待的色情关注之间的摩擦,德赢沙巴体育堕胎,incest,and murder thriving within quaint New England villages.Clearly that is a part of it.But I think what "Pandora in Blue Jeans" offers women is something even more subversive than overt rebellion or explicit sex,或者是一位用“好战的码头工人”的语言写作的家庭教师教师协会的母亲,引用当代评论。Instead,"Pandora in Blue Jeans" illustrates the shocking combination of utter apathy and utter focus.这个女人不在乎我们和厨房,her husband and children are nowhere in sight,but she is riveted,thunderbolted to the chair,by the vision of her own words on the page.She is not herself an object of desire,但是她有一个,and she gazes at it steadily,seduced by the sight of her book in progress.

The picture is perverse in its refusal to perform for the viewer's expectations,not just because "Pandora in Blue Jeans" is an ordinary housewife who wrote dirty books,but because she is an unkempt woman who doesn't seem to care what we think of her,and who cares intensely about something else.What could be more disturbing,after all,than the possibility that unremarkable,unenviable,不知好歹的女人内心可能燃烧着灼热的故事?Maybe only the possibility that a woman might not need to try to please us;that she might not ever choose to look up from her page.

Almost immediately,pulp fan 德赢沙巴体育fiction began to be written in response to this unsettling new author persona and the threat it posed.One notable novel inspired by Metalious's life and image wasThe Girl on the Best Seller List,by Vin Packer,四年后出版佩顿广场,which told the story of a small-town housewife who wrote an unexpected and lurid best seller.(Packer was the pseudonym of Patricia Highsmith's girlfriend Marijane Meaker.海史密斯写道天才先生。Ripleyand盐的价格,which was recently adapted for the screen as颂歌,Meaker写了开创性的青年成人小说和女同性恋低俗小说,除了像whodunits一样德赢沙巴体育The Girl on the Best Seller List佩克书封面上的“蓝色牛仔裤潘多拉”上的一个小插曲式即兴表演,插画师试图把潘多拉画得更漂亮,putting her on a diet,缩着剪着她的牛仔裤,unbuttoning her plaid shirt and tying it tight above the waist,and sliding some bracelets over her bare wrist.This made-over authoress ignores her typewriter and looks straight at the viewer,holding a pencil close to her parted lips and languidly stretching her other arm over the back of the chair so her body is open to us.这是一个无限性感的图像,but it looks like a million pictures we've seen before.

在帕克的书中,the Metalious character,renamed Gloria,is universally loathed,and (spoiler alert!) has possibly been poisoned by her agent,who finds her exceedingly difficult to edit.("I remember how hard it was to get Gloria to make a change," he muses somewhat menacingly to a new client.) Meanwhile the real-life Metalious struggled to reconcile the roles of "bland housewife," as she was dismissively labeled,and best-selling superstar.对她来说特别困难的是她从来就不能真正成为照片中的女人,自己坐在打字机前。Her writing life was troubled from the start.

"During the long year of editorial revisions," Cameron writes,"Grace turned into a difficult author,不安全的,贫困的人,and emotionally unstable." After the book came out she had an affair with a DJ,divorced her husband,broke up with the DJ,remarried her husband,浪费了大量的现金。She was Grace Metalious,not Pandora,她想做爱,酒,love,and money,不仅仅是写作,更多的写作,还有更多的写作。In the end,she dissolved in alcohol,disintegrating like the picture of Dorian Gray,and dying at thirty-nine,只比她最著名的肖像画大七岁。

It would be nice if immersive work were a way to experience the drive of desire without its difficulty,and if writing were a way to escape the demand to be vulnerable,available,很容易被爱。But unfortunately it's apparently impossible to stare into typewritten sentences forever and keep the world at bay.Still,for me this photograph offers an image of existence that's every bit as thrilling as lounging suggestively on chaises longues,or hurling thunderbolts,或者扣上你的衬衫,引导海明威,or unbuttoning your shirt and slowly lifting a phallic pencil to your parted lips.佩顿广场这是一部美国的邪教经典,销量达1200万册,正以女权主义者的身份寻找新的生活,但是“蓝色牛仔裤的潘多拉”是我最珍视的金属遗产的一部分:一个罕见的标志性形象,一个穿着朴素的女人,无视观众的期望,deep in her work,absorbed in a world of her own making.

Briallen Hopper has written about books,pop culture,religion,政治,friends,family,和她自己Los Angeles Review of Books,纽约magazine,The Cut,新共和国,新探究,andAvidly,among other publications.她的论文被New York Times,骚乱,Flavorwire,朗格雷德,以及其他。Hopper在塔科马长大,got a American literature from Princeton,and attended divinity school and taught writing at Yale.She is now an assistant professor of creative non德赢沙巴体育fiction at Queens College,CUNY.She lives in New York City.

Excerpted fromHard to Love: Essays and Confessions,by Briallen Hopper,with permission from Bloomsbury Publishing.© Briallen Hopper,2019.