in Secondary, Works


Untitled article by Associated Press writer. 1 May. In response to the condemnation of The Naked and the Dead (48.2) by the (London) Sunday Times, Mailer replies,

The Sunday Times is certainly entitled to its opinion—but I don’t agree with it. I wrote the book in good faith and don’t think it is obscene. I think as a matter of fact, that it’s less obscene than some salacious books that have foul words only here and there. When you look at the book as a whole, I don’t think you notice any obscenity in it. The obscenity—if you want to call it that—in The Naked and the Dead is like a bell ringing in the background while you work. Before long you don’t notice it anymore.

The possible banning of the book was discussed on the floor of the House of Commons, and widely in the British press. The British Attorney General, Sir Hartley Shawcross, while finding the novel to be “foul, lewd and revolting,” ultimately decided not to initiate proceedings against it. See 65.21, 68.31, 92.12, 95.53.