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Taboo Novel Shocked America 40 Years Ago

Author releases 40th anniversary edition of Marcella — controversial autoerotic story that paved the way for novels like Fifty Shades

OMAHA, Neb., March 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — When American feminist Gloria Steinem reviewed the groundbreaking novel Marcella by Marilyn Coffey in 1973, she said, "We are beginning to speak of subjects we have been taught are unspeakable. This book is an important part of the truth telling by and for women." Today, Marcella turns 40 in an environment where erotic romances like Fifty Shades of Grey have become mainstream.

Marcella is the story of a 13-year-old girl who is blossoming into womanhood. Coffey flawlessly defined what it meant to be a growing teenage girl while intricately weaving themes of discovery, sexuality, religion and inexperience. Marcella paved the way for the acceptance of the now booming erotic genre by introducing once taboo subjects to American audiences.

"Today I consider Marcella the most daring book I ever wrote," says Coffey. "I believe the autoeroticism described in my novel is lyrical and often funny. In today's popular literature, the sexuality in Marcella would be considered tame. I doubt that my book would have earned the distinction of being banned today, like it was in the '70s."

Marcella was hailed as the first book published in English to use autoeroticism as its main theme, and more broadly as the first book to venture into the sexual taboos of American readers.

Marcella was highly successful in the '70s amid much controversy. It was published by Charterhouse in New York, and then by Quartet in London. For the 40th anniversary edition of Marcella, Coffey opted to publish under her own imprint, Omega Cottonwood Press.

Read more about the interesting history of Marcella at:

Marilyn Coffey is a retired associate professor of English, having taught at Boston University, Pratt Institute, and Fort Hays (Kansas) State University (tenured at both Pratt and FHSU). The University of Nebraska named her a Master Alumnus for distinction in writing. Her manuscripts, letters, journals and papers are archived in The Marilyn Coffey Collection in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries. Coffey is celebrated for her contributions to literature and women's issues.

TO INTERVIEW MARILYN COFFEY OR REQUEST A REVIEW COPY, CONTACT Krystal Sidzyik, Email. Visit for more information.

Marcella: 40th Anniversary Edition is available through and

Contact: Krystal Sidzyik
(402) 884-5995