Playboy recently named the twenty-five sexiest novels ever written. The list of works “famous for being dirty books for decades” includes Norman Mailer’s An American Dream (Dial Press, 1965), Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer (Obelisk Press, 1934), Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita (Olympia Press, 1955), and Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint (Random House, 1969). Covers, excerpts, and brief histories of the books on the list are available on the magazine’s Web site.
The monthly magazine has long had a reputation for championing literary fiction, which began when founder Hugh Hefner hired Auguste Comte Spectorsky as editorial director in 1956. Spectorsky acquired work by James Baldwin and Nabokov, and since then the magazine has published stories by Margaret Atwood, Saul Bellow, T. C. Boyle, Joyce Carol Oates, John Updike, and Kurt Vonnegut, among others.