F. Scott Fitzgerald's stories to be republished with the sex, drugs and profanities put back in

The Great Gatsby author's collection of short stories were heavily censored, but one scholar has worked to present the stores as he intended them to be read

Heather Saul
Saturday 03 May 2014 13:54

The Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald’s fourth collection of stories are to be re-published with all of the sex, nudity, drug-taking and profanity originally censored by editors of The Saturday Evening Post reinstated.

The author's short stories were written for The Post during the late 1920s and early 1930s and while he was heavily in debt despite his popularity.

The Post, fearing it may upset its middle class readership, removed references to sexual acts, innuendos and nudity, including a scene involving a woman running a bath naked, amending it instead to a fully clothed woman running the water.

Scholar James West has since restored the stories using final drafts to present them in their original form for the latest volume of The Cambridge Edition of the Works of F Scott Fitzgerald,

“Before these stories were bowdlerised, they contained slurs, sexual innuendo, instances of drug use and drunkenness. They also contained profanity and mild blasphemy. The texts were scrubbed clean at The Post,” Mr West told The Guardian.

“More generally, in all of the stories, the characters use the profanity, mild blasphemies, and slang words that Fitzgerald wanted them to use. They [the characters] speak like real people,” he added.

In the story The Hotel Child, after reintroducing scenes of drug taking and alcoholism “the decadence of several of the characters is revealed more clearly”, Mr West explained.

Two Wrongs features a "reprehensible" character who is "punished more justly for his wrongdoings – his antisemitism and his reprehensible treatment of his wife" by reintroducing the censored slurs, he added.

“One of the commonplaces of Fitzgerald criticism, for decades, has been that he avoided unpleasant topics and realistic language in his magazine fiction. We can see now that this was not altogether his choice.”

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