I only read it for the articles: Playboy's impressive literary legacy

28 September 2017, 12:35

"I only read it for the articles" was a common excuse for owning a copy of Playboy magazine.

It sounds ridiculous and was often being said in jest - but there may just be an element of truth to it.

Alongside the more famous pictures of naked women Hugh Hefner's magazine also published many remarkable pieces of both fiction and non-fiction.

:: Playboy founder Hugh Hefner dies aged 91

Interviews with Miles Davies, John Lennon and Ian Fleming sat alongside stories and essays from Kurt Vonnegut, Joyce Carol Oates, Hunter S Thompson and Vladimir Nabokov.

Here are some of the magazines best, and most unexpected, articles:

1. Martin Luther King Jr interview

The civil rights activist granted his longest ever interview to a magazine to Playboy in 1965.

He spoke to writer Alex Haley, who conducted some of the magazines most famous interviews, including with Miles Davis and Muhammad Ali.

2. The Visitor by Roald Dahl

The famous author was not just a children's writer and in 1965 his short story, about a character known as Uncle Oswald "the greatest fornicator of all time", appeared in Playboy.

The story was later adapted into a novel, My Uncle Oswald.

3. Jimmy Carter interview

"I've looked on a lot of women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times" - as presidential admissions go this one is far from the worst.

But it was still a far from comfortable moment when then president Jimmy Carter made the remark during an interview with the magazine.

4. The Bog Man by Margaret Atwood

Yes, the famed author of The Handmaid's Tale also had a short story published in Playboy in 1991, an unexpected fit for a woman whose work is considered stridently feminist.

In her tale a woman finds a 2,000-year-old male corpse in a bog at the same time as discovering her husband's affair.

5. Sex is Politics by Gore Vidal

In a Playboy essay Gore Vidal argued that politicians use hot button issues, normally to do with sex, to control society and distract from more important issues.

Published in 1948, the essay was considered decades ahead of it's time in its critique of the US political system.

6. First Aid For Freddie by PG Wodehouse

This short story by the English writer, which was also known as Sticky Wicket at Blandings, was published in the magazine in 1966.

Part of the Blandings Castle series it features the ongoing high jinks of Lord Emsworth and his son Freddie and later appeared in a collection of other short stories by the author.

7. The Second Bakery Attack by Haruki Murakami

A story by the famous Japanese writer was published in Playboy in 1992, before it appeared in his 1993 collection The Elephant Vanishes.

The tale is a comedic one, in which a man ambushes a fast food restaurant to try and break a spell after a failed attack on a bakery.

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