The 2013 memoir of Smiths frontman, Morrissey, has been quietly uncensored for rerelease in the United States. The version that was initially distributed had been mysteriously edited to exclude mild references to homosexuality.
Last December, Morrissey released his simply-titled Autobiography in the United States, two months after its U.K. release. For reasons unknown, three sentences discussing his two-year relationship with British photographer Jake Owen Walters were removed from the book. Two other sentences related to the mid-90s romance were altered, and a photograph of Walters as a young boy was excluded from the printing.
Many fans were angered when they discovered the inconsistencies between the British and American versions. Penguin, the U.S. and U.K. publisher for the book, and G.P. Putnam’s Sons, the branch that supervised the stateside release, declined to comment at the time. Now, just as quietly as the parts were removed, they have been restored. A paperback Autobiography will be available in the U.S. with all of its original content on November 4th, 2014.
The three sentences that were cut from the first copy include the following: “I am photographed for Creem magazine with my head resting on Jake’s exposed belly.” “Indulgently Jake and I test how far each of us can go before ‘being dwelt in’ causes cries of intolerable struggle, but our closeness transcends such visitations.” “‘Well,’ said the woman in the British Airways lounge, ‘You’re either very close brothers or lovers.’ ‘Can’t brothers be lovers?’ I impudently reply.”
It is unclear why his involvement with Walters was left out of his memoir, especially since Morrissey has often stressed its significance to him in the past, saying, “For the first time in my life the eternal ‘I’ becomes ‘we’, as, finally, I can get on with someone.” The omission of what the musician has called his first serious relationship may account for part of the “content dispute” that delayed the book from being released on its projected date, September 16th, 2013.
The unexplained censorship was not the only controversy surrounding Autobiography. Upon its release, some critics expressed that Morrissey’s push to publish the book as a “contemporary classic” under the Penguin Classic label devalued the honorary imprint.