White Velvet

Following the publication of President Fu Manchu in 1936, Sax Rohmer began work on a screen play. It was to be set in Egypt and he was creating it with Marlene Dietrich in mind. At least one of the Hollywood studios liked the proposed story and Rohmer was invited to go to Hollywood to complete the script. He didn't go. Cay Van Ash believed it was because Rohmer was afraid he would have an experience similar to "his friend, P. G. Wodehouse, who, not so long previously, had been called to Hollywood and paid to stay there for many weeks, doing precisely nothing" (Villainy 240). Rohmer rewrote the script as a novel and White Velvet was published in New York by Doubleday and in  London by Cassell.

From the collection of Lawrence Knapp 
Doubleday                                        Cassell

New York, Doubleday, 1936. First edition, U.S.
New York: The Sun Dial Press, 1937.
New York, P. F. Collier & Son, 193?.

London: Cassell, January 1937. First edition, England.
Second edition: June 1938.
Third edition: September 1939.
Fourth edition: January 1941.
Fifth edition: March 1942.


In 1937, White Velvet was also published as "The Sunday Novel . . . Complete in This Issue" by various newspapers on Sunday, February 28, 1937. The Philadelphia Inquirer cover .is shown. Copies of  the Detroit Free Press and Herald Examiner editions are also known to exist. It was, as might be expected, an abridged version of the full novel, but it had a striking cover and eleven interior illustrations by H. E. Snyder.

From the collection of R. E. Briney      From the collection of Lawrence Knapp

In White Velvet, for the very first time, Rohmer allowed his characters to engage in premarital sex -- to "the marked disapproval of the Bishop of London"   (Villainy 294).

Never a movie, White Velvet did go on to become a radio series featured on the B.B.C. from April 29 to July 1, 1940.The series included music and lyrics by Sax Rohmer. Cay Van Ash has written of his "nostalgic memories of the wistful 'Cold As Snow,' which [he] thought particularly appealing" (Villainy 240).

Go to Sax Rohmer's Titles
Go to Sax Rohmer's Serials
Go to The Page of Fu Manchu
Go to The Books of Fu Manchu
Go to Sax Rohmer's First Editions

Copyright 1998-2000 Lawrence Knapp. All rights reserved.