[An English publisher's readers] had no doubt of its moral purpose,
since it criticises severely the life which it depicts. Nevertheless,
because the book, for 2 per cent. of its total length, describes
sexual incidents in coarse language, no printer could be found. (st
the anecdotes not true, secker & warburg being scared by poor u s
sales not by the censors1      theyre described indirectly,
as are most sensory experiences in the book      many of the shocking
remarks in the caricature sections are about sex      on the whole,
among novels of the 1950-60s the books relatively not sexcentered 2.
then why the "unprintable" bit?
repetitious parade of erudition, in the obscure and of the unprint-
able in word and deed (laycock, boston globe)

a squad of persons whose deeds, like their words, are well-nigh
unprintable. (newsweek)

  I should not be surprised to learn soon that efforts will have been
made to suppress it in various sections of the nations...language
current only in a jail yard. (price, cleveland press      my ellipsis)

the recognitions can hardly be unprintable—it was printed      & has
had no trouble with censors      what they mean is gaddis doesnt shirk
words like fuck & shit when theyre needed      the boston globe, news-
& cleveland press can never print these words      idiocy & cow-
ardice! as if their offices were on the 13th floor & they called it the 14th

its obscene not to print words like fuck & shit      & in lieu to print the
Smirk       titterings about "four-letter words"—now theres a dirty word:

a passion for putting in every Greek, Latin, German, French, Span-
ish, Italian, Yiddish and four-letter word he knows (fremantle)
or about promiscuity:
a series of bohemian women who go to parties to get bed com-
panions (berger)
massmediamen never tire of giggling over "four-letter words" & celeb-
rities mistresses      (why dont they write about advertisers mistresses)
      cant they see the Smirk isn't a criticism its a damaging confession
about their own sexlives!      taking the role of the man who stays in
the whorehouse parlor making knowing jokes & hoping noone will
notice he never goes upstairs

or retreat to turnerism3:

it is weighed down also by too much lubricity, too many anecdotes
of merely scandalous appeal, too many bad literary puns. (o'hearn)
but not everyone is weak-sophisticated, stern moralism continues:
Most of these slimy citizens4 are in some way connected with the
arts and are undergoing psychoanalysis when not busy with public
orgies, private orgies, conversational orgies, or other conspicuous
displays of their alleged erudition and proud depravities. (north)

The casual reader who is tempted to plunge into this work should
face the logical question, "why bother?" Unless one belongs to the
extremely small group of people who are satirized here, or has—
and is willing deliberately to indulge—a morbid taste for obscenity,
there is scarcely any answer to the question. (hill)

fortified by his s.j. & vow of chastity hill edges over from critic to censor:
In the current moral atmosphere it may be asking too much of the
average publisher to expect him to act with some sense of respon-
sibility. It should be pointed out, however, that a book of this type
does not merely cater to an already debased taste; it tends in itself
to be debasing. Obviously the author does not intend to demoralize,
but the tendency—however unconscious—of his work is an objective
fact and one of which the publisher should be aware.
& his magazine lists the recognitions in moral class iv: "Not Recom-
mended for Any Class of Reader"
1the recognitions will be published in england this year [1962] by macgibbon &
kee (Back)

2 nor does it have "a Swiftian obsession with eliminative functions"      (wharton) (Back)

3term honoring the critic dr turner in wolfe's "portrait of a literary critic" (the
hills beyond
152-3) who "first made the astonishing discovery that Sex is Dull" (Back)

4characters in the recognitions (Back)