August 16, 2004


TIMES CLEANS UP TOM WOLFE (Page Six, August 16, 2004, NY Post)

LITERARY lion Tom Wolfe is being censored by the New York Times.

The Old Gray Lady is excerpting a passage from Wolfe's raucous new novel, "I Am Charlotte Simmons" (due out from FSG in November) in an upcoming "Back to School" issue of the Book Review. But even though the section's editor, Sam Tenenhaus, selected one of the tamer passages in the sex-stuffed tome, the Times' censors have axed some choice bits, we're told. [...]

Apparently the expurgations are the result of lengthy negotiations between the white-suited Wolfe, Tenenhaus and the Times' arbiters of taste. At one point it seemed as if they wouldn't be able to run anything at all, we're told.

Wolfe is taking the changes well, however, and seems to think it's funny that the Times is being so prudish.

"I thought we got over this when Judge Woolsey let [James Joyce's] 'Ulysses' into the country in 1933," Wolfe's rep, Jeff Seroy, at FSG told PAGE SIX. "But my hat's off to Sam and Tom for making this happen [after all]. Tom loves the fact that the Times is running it."

Throughout the book, set in the world of frat parties and boorish college athletes at fictitious Dupont University, Wolfe employs sexual terms much more shocking than the ones above. The school is said to be based on Duke University, which Wolfe's daughter, Alexandra, now a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, attended.

According to FSG's catalog copy, the novel follows Charlotte Simmons, an innocent girl from North Carolina who is shocked by the goings-on at Dupont, which is "closer in spirit to Sodom than Athens, and that sex, crank and kegs trump academic achievement every time."

Who has time for sex and crank in college?

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 16, 2004 5:01 PM

You make time for the important things.

Posted by: Brandon at August 16, 2004 5:09 PM

Well, it's clearly not an accurate portrayal of Duke unless it notes that college basketball generally trumps the other three.

Posted by: John Thacker at August 16, 2004 5:16 PM