‘Sex and the City’ Literary Antecedents and Influences: A Reading and Watching List

sex_and_the_city_book_-_cover_artToday I’m working on the section of my Sex and the City book that’s about the literary history and environment from which Candace Bushnell’s collection of columns sprang in the 1990s. I thought it was interesting enough to share—so much good reading and watching here, if you like stories about single people in big cities:

Neith Boyce, “The Bachelor Girl” column, Vogue, 1898. You can read a bit about her here.

Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence, 1920.

Dorothy Parker, 1920s-30s. I recommend The Portable Dorothy Parker for a delicious taste of the queen of the Algonquin Round Table, known for her wit and cutting reviews, and also a stellar literary talent.

Helen Gurley Brown, Sex and the Single Girl, 1962. (There is also a hilariously terrible movie of the same name that’s a very loose adaptation of Gurley’s guide to living single life.)

Armistead Maupin, Tales of the City, 1978. Became a juicy, addictive TV miniseries that first aired on PBS in 1994.

Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary, 1996. Bridget is Carrie Bradshaw’s total opposite, but this book came out around the same time that the Sex and the City book was published. Together, they made single women so hot in publishing that we were deluged with “chick lit,” and subsequent endless debates about the term “chick lit,” for the following decade.

 

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