The deadly valentine


It’s been twenty years since the open bounty on Salman Rushdie and Bernard Henri-Levy (via Kammo) has an eloquent essay in Index on Censorship.

The truth is that a world where we no longer have the right to laugh at dogma would be an impoverished world. The truth is that a world where we are not permitted to write fiction on any and every subject would be a much sadder place where whole areas of freedom will cave in. Dark times. The darkening of the spirit. The spirit of the times.

I’ve just finished volume 3 of The Paris Review Interviews in which Rushdie talks about the initial reaction to the contract.

The most extended thing I’ve ever written about England is The Satanic Verses, which no one thinks of as a novel about England, but is actually, in large part, a novel about London. It’s about the life of immigrants in Thatcherite London… in 1989 there was a widespread tabloid belief that I was this troublemaker who had to be saved from his own kind by a government he’d opposed – the Thatcher government. And then when I decided to make a life for myself in New York, that proved my ingratitude. As if, in order to be grateful, I had to live in London for the rest of my life.


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