These things take time… Morrissey’s Penguin ‘classic’ is out


Click to follow
The Independent Culture

First there was Homer’s Odyssey; then came Tolstoy’s War and Peace - now we have Morrissey's Autobiography. Today the former Smiths’ frontman’s long-awaited tome finally hits bookshops, weeks after he claimed he had pulled the plug on the whole enterprise after a “last-minute content disagreement” with publishers Penguin.

Fans of the musician were so impatient to get their hands on a copy that some bookstores organised special midnight openings so they could purchase it the minute the strict embargo was lifted. The Big Green Bookshop, an independent bookseller in Wood Green, north London, anticipated such high demand that it opened at 10pm for a two-hour countdown, and operated a ticket system to prevent chaos inside.

Even before its publication, the book had already created controversy and divided critics when it was revealed that, at Morrissey’s behest, Penguin would be publishing as a Classics imprint, where it would sit alongside the works of such luminaries as John Stuart Mill, Francis Bacon and Charles Darwin.

“I don’t see why not,” Morrissey said in 2011 upon announcing his desire to share shelf space with Aristotle and Virgil. “When you consider what really hits print these days, and when you look at the autobiographies and how they are sold, most of it is appalling.”