Levin, Ira: Rosemary's Baby
(researched by Susan Gantz)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description

1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)

Published in New York by Random House, Inc. and simultaneously in Toronto, Canada, by Random House of Canada Limited. Copyright 1967 by Ira Levin.

2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?

First edition published in cloth.

3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available

4 Pagination

On the front side of each page, "ROSEMARY'S BABY is written on the upper right hand side. On both sides of every page, the page number is written in brackets at the bottom outside corner.

5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?

The book is neither edited or introduced.

6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?

The book is not illustrated.

7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available

8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)

General appearance of the book is nice. The text is very clear and easy to r ead. Typeset unknown. Different sections of chapters are separated by a black dot the height of an uppercase letter. The quality of the dot is not as clear as the text, and most dots are lighter in the center than the edge.

9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available

10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)

The paper in this copy is holding up well. There are no ripped pages. The color has yellowed a bit. The very top edge of each sheet has been dyed green, so that when the book is closed, it appears that the top edge is green.

11 Description of binding(s)

The binding is glued. While the book is still in one piece, the spine is broken so that the front and back covers flop loosely when opened.

12 Transcription of title page

ROSEMARY'S BABY|a novel|by IRA LEVIN| RANDOM HOUSE | NEW YORK (The title and author are written in bold. The first letter of the title is very large and is a bubble letter.

13 JPEG image of title page, if available

14 Manuscript Holdings


15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)

The book is dedicated to Gabrielle.

Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History

1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A

The original Publisher, Random House Inc., told me on the phone that they had not printed the book since 1967, the year is came out. However, I did find a collection titled "Three by Ira Levin: Rosemary's Baby; This perfect Day; The Stepford Wives", published in hardcover by Random House in 1985. This book is currently "out of stock indefinately".

2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available

3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available

4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?

I am waiting for Random House to send me this information, at which time I will update this section.

5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A

I found Two other publishers: Mass Market Paperback of Signet published an edition in September, 1997. Buccaneer books published a hardback in June 1993. This book is also "out of stock indefinately".

6 Last date in print?

The latest date I could find was the Signet edition in September, 1997.

7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)

I am currently waiting for this information from the original publisher. I will update this section.

8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)

I am currently waiting on this information from the original publisher. I will update this section.

9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)


10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available

11 Other promotion

Two book reviews appeared in the New York Times on April 7, 1967 and April 30, 1967.

12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A

There is a movie version which seems to be more popular than the book. The director was Roman Polanski. It appeared in 1968, and starred Mia Farrow.

13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A

I found a list of Levin's books translated in spanish, but unless the title was changed, Rosemary's Baby was not one of them.

14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A


15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A

A sequel by Ira Levin was published in
1997 by Dutton Publishing titled "Son of Rosemary: The Sequel to Rosemary's Baby" (I assume this is the reason the Signet Paperback appeared of the original the same year.)

Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author

1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)

Ira Levin was born on August 27, 1929 in New York. Levin is the youngest child and only son to his Jewish parents, Beatrice (Schlansky)Levin and Charles Levin, a toy importer. Levin spent his childhood in th
e Bronx before moving to the upper east side of Manhatten when he was thirteen. In New York, Levin attended the prestigious Horace Mann School before attending Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Two years later he transferred to New York University to study writing and scripts. He graduated in 1950 with an A.B. in English and Philosophy. After college, Levin wrote occasional television scripts before completing his first novel, "A Kiss Before Dying" in 1953. The novel, finished when he was only twenty-four, won him an Edgar Allen Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America for bes
t first novel of the year. The plot was later turned into a movie starring Joanne Woodward, Jeffrey Hunter and Robert Wagner in 1956. In 1991 the movie was re-made starring Matt Dillon and Sean Young. Also in 1953, Levin was drafted into the Army, where he was stationed in Astoria Queens, New York, to write and produce training films for troops. While serving he wrote a novel, "No Time for Sergeants". He was released from duty three months earl
y to make a stage version. The play appeared on Broadway for 796 performances. In 1967 Levin's second novel, "Rosemary's Baby", was published. By 1978 it sold over five million copies in paperback in the United States alone. In the following years Levin had a series of disapointments with plays on Broadway, on of which opened and closed on the same night. In 1978, however, his script, "Deathtrap", opened on Broadway and lasted for an impressive 1,792 performances. It w
as the longest running thriller in Broadway history. A movie was made in 1982. Other novels that Levin has written include, "This Perfect Day"(1970), "The Stepford Wives"(1972), and "The Boys from Brazil"(1976). In 1991, Levin wrote his first novel in fifteen years, "Sliver", which also became a movie starring Sharon Stone. Be
fore it was published, it was sold to Bantom Books along with his previous novels except "A Kiss Before Dying", with license to reprint as many copies as they wished. The price was 1.02 million dollars. Levin's latest novel, "Son of Rosemary", is a sequel to "Rosemary's Baby", published in 1997. Levin still lives in New York, in a penthouse apartment on Park Avenue. He's been married and divorced twice and has three grown sons. Besides his novels, Levin has written many scripts and the lyrics of a Barbara Streisand hit, "He Touched Me". Ira Levin is a member of the Authors Guild, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, and the Dramatists Guild. He was also given the Horror Writers Association's Bram Stroker Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Assignment 4: Reception History

1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

Reception of Ira Levin's "Rosemary's Baby" after its first publication in 1967 was rather uniform. The reviews I found in newspapers and magazines praised the concept and suspense of the book, but most seemed l
et down by the ending of the book. Thomas J. Fleming, who reviewed the book in the New York Times on April 30, 1967, first states that the suspense in the story is "beautifully intertwined with everyday incidents, the delicate line between belief and dis
belief is faultlessly drawn". Fleming's reaction to the conclusion of "Rosemary's Baby" is less impressed: "Mr. Levin's literal resolution of his story leaves the rueful feeling one might get from watching what seems to be a major league game - and di
scovering in the very last inning, that it was only good minor-league after all. In other words, most reviewers felt that the writing quality and storyline were great, until one reached the final pages. In case anyone is interested, the movie based on th
e book, which appeared in 1968, recieved great reviews. In total, however, there was less to be found on opinions of such an unsettling book than I assumed there would be.

2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

I could not find reviews of "Rosemary's Baby" more than five years after
the publication date. The release of "Son of Rosemary: The Sequel to Rosemary's Baby" brought many recent mentions of the original book, but none actually commented on an opinion of the book.

Assignment 5: Critical Analysis

1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)

For many popular books, there seems to be a reason why much of society likes them. For instance, John Grishams books about Yuppie, good-looking, intelligent people winning out over government and big business, se
em to sell well because of our, the citizens of the United States of America, distaste of the 80s' fad reaganomics. Sure, that makes sense. Another example would be the popularity of Tom Clancy's books about CIA agents and some politicians who actually
have the best interests of the country at heart and want to do good in the eyes of truth and justice. Since we usually don't see this in real life, these books sell well because at least we can pretend. Sure, that makes sense. Most books seem to sell w
ell for a reason. Something occuring in our society seems to make us draw to certain types of literature, well maybe fiction is a better word. I have not been able to figure out what could hav been occuring in the 1960's that would have drawn enough peo
ple to Ira Levin's "Rosemary's Baby" to make it appear on the 1967's bestseller list. But I have some up with some other reasons why it's so popular that have nothing to do with what was going on in our culture. First, it's a good book. It's i
mpossible to put down once you have opened it. Second, it involves an innocent woman having the devil's child, which for some reason is really interesting to many people. Third, there was an oscar-winning movie version made one year after "Rosemary's B
aby" was published, and I know many people who like reading a book after seeing the film version. I also know many people who like seeing a moview after having already read the book. Fourth, Ira Levin is known for his writing. Therefore, many people, like
me, would read this book because of other books he has written. the last reason I can think of as to why "Rosemary's Baby" is still poplular is becasue a sequel, titled "Son of Rosemary" was released in 1997. Hence, people are now thinking about, and
reading or re-reading the original. All of these points illustrate why "Rosemary's Baby" was popular in 1967, when it was published, and why it is still popular, or at least not un-familiar sounding to many people, thirty-one years later. "Rosemary's Baby" is a good book. The reviews Ira Levin recieved just agter "Rosemary's Baby" was published were positive. While some held the opinion that the ending was weaker than the rest of the story, most agread that the plot was interesting, ful
l of suspense, and that the character development was strong and believable. Years later reaction to "Rosemary's Baby" still seems positive. Some comments from readers who voiced their opinions of "Rosemary's Baby" at a website from Amazon.com include:
"This book is truly one that is nearly impossible to put down" "One of the best books ever made!" "I think excellent is the word I'm looking for" "The plot of Rosemary's Baby was the most entertaining and the suspensful I have ever read" I personall
y would have to agree with on respondant from Los Angelas who wrote: "Everything, description, dialoque, characters, setting, and most of all plot, mesh seamlessly in one of the great reads of all time" All of these remarks are from the last two years, w
hich shows that thirty-one years after its publication, readers are still enjoying "Rosemary's Baby". Another reason "Rosemary's Baby" has remained popular is because of its plot content. A non-practicing catholic is impregnated by the devil to produce satan's son. This story, while maybe not as familiar in 1967, has proved itself to be worthy of intere
st because it's been repeated in other stories. For example, in Dean Koontz's "Servants of Twilight", a woman, a non-practicing catholic, begins to see signs that her child may be the result of an affair she had with a man who acted suspiciously like th
e devil. This is a story with many twists that separate it from "Rosemary's Baby", but none-the-less still uses the concept of the devil's child. Another example would be "The Devil's Advocate", a film released in 1997 starring Al Pacino and Keanu Ree
ves. In this story, a grown man begins to question the mortality of his boss, when he learns that his boss is not only the devil himself, but also his father. As "Rosemary's Baby" ends with the reader pondering whether or not Andy will grow up to be evi
l to the human race, both of these stories also raise the question as to if the Devil's child must be evil or not. I'm not sure why this topic is of such interest to so many people, but it is engrossing. Yet another reason "Rosemary's Baby" became popular was the 1968 oscar-winning movie by the same name that is almost identicle in dialogue to the book. As one fan wrote: "It is the best adaption of book to film ever done. The reason for this sis simple:
It IS the book." The movie, which starred Mia Farrow as Rosemary and John Cassavettes as Guy, was directed by Roman Polanski. The movie is described as an engrossing, creepy classic by one website reviewer. While "Rosemary's Baby" hit the bestseller li
st in 1967, and the movie didn't come out until 1968, I think the film still helped keep the story popular. In the ten years after publication, "Rosemary's Baby" sold over five million copies in paperback alone. Part of this initial lasting popularity
was probably because of the attention the film had provided. Part of the initial popularity of "Rosemary's Baby" could have also come from Ira Levin's reputation as a good thriller writer. Although "Rosemary's Baby" was one of Levin's earliest books, his first novel, "A Kiss Before Dying" had won him an Edgar
Allen Poe Award, and had also been made into a successfu movie in 1956. As Levin wrote more novels and plays, his name became more familiar and esteemed. Some opinions of Levin include: "Levin is truly a literary genius" "I'd always put Ira Levin up the
re with Shirley Jackson as one of the few 'classic' horror writers--literate, subtle, frightening without resorting to bloodfests" "That Levin is a sly devil" Because of his success in other books, many people of a younger generation will read "Rosema
ry's Baby" because they have heard of him or have read one of his more recent works. This is not a rare occurance. Most people will agree that not all of Stephen King's books have been equally wonderful, and yet they all seem to sell. WHile a book will
not remain popular if it is not really good, but the author has been great in the past, it will recieve some initial popularity just from association. Finally, probably the important reason that "Rosemary's Baby" is still popular today, maybe even more so than five years ago, is because of the sequel, "Son of Rosemary" which Ira Levin recently published in 1997. After thirty-one years Levin finally dec
ided to let his readers learn just what did happen to Rosemary, Guy, and especially little Andy. Along with the release of "Son of Rosemary", came a reprinting of the original in a paperback edition. While most reviewers and readers alike were disappoint
ed and down right upset by "Son of Rosemary", it did cause a new wave of readers to explore "Rosemary's Baby". Reactions to "Son of Rosemary" are in a large way a compliment, because the majority of people who didn't enjoy "Son of Rosemary", disliked it
even more because it wasn't as good as "Rosemary's Baby". For example, one angry reader remarked: "I loved reading Rosemary's Baby- it was a good-suspenseful page-turner! Son of Rosemary, however, was a page-turner simply because I wanted to see if it
would get any better. It didn't. Ira, Ira, Ira- whatever possessed you to dash off this piece of drivel?" Another said: "The denouncement was not only a cheat, it was a slap in the face to Levin's fans. I would not recommend this novel to anyone wh
o has read Rosemary's Baby and loved it; don't sully your beautiful memory." The obvious compliment here is that readers never would have reacted to negatively to "Son of Rosemary" if they had not absolutely adored "Rosemary's Baby". Of course, I cert
ainly hope that Levin's next book is a great improvement if he doesn't want to completely lose his faithful followers who at least finished "Son of Rosemary" out of faith that it would get better. In conclusion, masses of readers weren't drawn to "Rosemary's Baby" out of a reaction to something in society or to fill a void they felt within themselves. People read "Rosemary's Baby" because it was a good book. Readers either picked it up because o
f Levin's reputation, because of the good reviews it recieved, because they wanted to read the sequel or already had, because they had read other works by Levin, because they saw the film, or because they are very interested in the Devil fahtering a chil
d to a non-practicing catholic. Whatever the reason readers picked it up, the reality is that once they started it, they finished it. Because "Rosemary's Baby" is a great thriller that doesn't let you go until the last page; and even then it's still o
n your mind.

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