Censored gay sex in From Here to Eternity restored for new edition





The novel prompted one of the most famous heterosexual sex scenes in film history, with Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr clasping each other passionately on a beach amid the foaming waves. But an uncensored text of James Jones's 1951 novel From Here to Eternity has revealed that the author originally intended to include frank references to homosexuality considered too scandalous to be published at the time....

From Here to Eternity is the story of first sergeant Milt Warden, who has an affair with Karen, the wife of his captain. But the original text of the novel included two scenes which never made it to the published edition, let alone the film. In one, private Angelo Maggio – the soldier played by Frank Sinatra in the 1953 film – confesses to having oral sex with a wealthy man for $5 or $10 that "comes in handy the middle of the month". In the second scene a military investigation into gay activity is mooted....

Churchwell added that it was also important to acknowledge that a story celebrated for inspiring the classic Hollywood beach scene between Lancaster and Kerr was actually envisioned as a novel that acknowledged homosexuality. "It's an important historical correction, to allow James Jones his rightful place as one of the earliest mainstream US novelists to try to treat homosexuality sympathetically, without judging or pathologising it," she said. "People don't think of Jones as an avant-garde writer, but in his way he was. We know about Hemingway and Allen Ginsberg, but we don't put James Jones into that story and he deserves to be there."


comments powered by Disqus