Sixty years after it was first published, and 30 years after the death of its author, James Jones, the novel From Here to Eternity is being reissued, with gay elements that were excised from the original edition.
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.
Jones's editor at Scribner refused to allow the scenes to be included, and also excised various swear words originally intended to be included in the dialogue. In America at the time the US postal service would not carry material it considered obscene, making it impossible for books the organisation thought offensive to be distributed. Disapproval from the influential Book-of-the-Month Club, a mail order club, also meant the end of a novel's chances of commercial success. Many authors, including Ernest Hemingway, were therefore forced to tone down their novels' language and content, on pragmatic rather than moral grounds.
The book will be available as an ebook through digital publisher Open Road.