Girls on the Rampage: ‘Bad Girl’ Fiction in 1950s America

  • Bill Osgerby
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Subcultures and Popular Music book series (PSHSPM)


This chapter analyses the rise of ‘bad girl’ books in America during the 1950s. Chronicles of the criminal and sexual misdeeds of errant young women, ‘bad girl’ books were a subgenre in a broader flood of cheap and lurid ‘juvenile delinquency’ novels that traded on contemporary anxieties about youth crime and gang violence. The chapter shows how ‘bad girl’ books successfully exploited popular anxieties surrounding gender, morality and crime. It also demonstrates how their success was indebted to wider shifts in the fields of production, demand, reception and regulation.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bill Osgerby
    • 1
  1. 1.London Metropolitan UniversityLondonUK

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