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Evelyn Waugh
In September of 1961, a young publicist at Simon & Schuster named Nina Bourne began sending out copies of a forthcoming book to a whole host of notable readers, in an attempt to solicit a blurb or two for its release. They were accompanied with an enthusiastic note from Bourne that read, “This is a book I’d get a critic out of the shower to read.”The novel in question was Joseph Heller's Catch-22, and the following response came from Evelyn Waugh.(Source: The Letters of Evelyn Waugh; Image: Evelyn Waugh, via LIFE.)
6 September 1961Dear Miss Bourne,Thank you for sending me Catch 22. I am sorry that the book fascinates you so much. It has many passages quite unsuitable to a lady’s reading. It suffers not only from indelicacy but from prolixity. It should be cut by about a half. In particular the activities of “Milo” should be eliminated or greatly reduced.You are mistaken in calling it a novel. It is a collection of sketches—often repetitious—totally without structure.Much of the dialogue is funny.You may quote me as saying: “This exposure of corruption, cowardice and incivility of American officers will outrage all friends of your country (such as myself) and greatly comfort your enemies.”Evelyn Waugh

Evelyn Waugh

In September of 1961, a young publicist at Simon & Schuster named Nina Bourne began sending out copies of a forthcoming book to a whole host of notable readers, in an attempt to solicit a blurb or two for its release. They were accompanied with an enthusiastic note from Bourne that read, “This is a book I’d get a critic out of the shower to read.”

The novel in question was Joseph Heller's Catch-22, and the following response came from Evelyn Waugh.

(Source: The Letters of Evelyn Waugh; Image: Evelyn Waugh, via LIFE.)

6 September 1961

Dear Miss Bourne,

Thank you for sending me Catch 22. I am sorry that the book fascinates you so much. It has many passages quite unsuitable to a lady’s reading. It suffers not only from indelicacy but from prolixity. It should be cut by about a half. In particular the activities of “Milo” should be eliminated or greatly reduced.

You are mistaken in calling it a novel. It is a collection of sketches—often repetitious—totally without structure.

Much of the dialogue is funny.

You may quote me as saying: “This exposure of corruption, cowardice and incivility of American officers will outrage all friends of your country (such as myself) and greatly comfort your enemies.”

Evelyn Waugh
— 2 years ago with 10 notes
#lit  #education 
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