After being dropped by its original publisher earlier this month, Woody Allen’s new autobiography has been quietly released via Arcade Publishing. The Associated Press (via The Hollywood Reporter) reports that the 400-page book is out as of today, Monday, March 23rd.
Entitled Apropos of Nothing, the memoir is described as providing “a candid and comprehensive personal account” into Allen’s life, including “his acclaimed career in film, theater, television, print and stand-up comedy, as well as exploring his relationships with family and friends.” Of course, that means two things: Allen’s alleged molestation of his daughter with Mia Farrow, Dylan, and his romantic relationship with Farrow’s adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn.
Allen draws a connection between the two, saying Dylan’s accusations arose from Farrow’s “Ahab-like quest” for revenge after discovering his relationship with Previn. As he’s long done, he denies ] ever touching Dylan inappropriately. “I never laid a finger on Dylan, never did anything to her that could be even misconstrued as abusing her,” he writes. “It was a total fabrication from start to finish.”
He goes on to specifically describe his August 1992 visit to Farrow’s house in Connecticut, when Dylan claims the alleged molestation occurred. Allen admits to resting his head in the 7-year-old Dylan’s lap at one point, but maintains, “I certainly didn’t do anything improper to her. I was in a room full of people watching TV mid-afternoon.”
As for his affair with Previn, he again claims the relationship started only when he and Farrow were essentially separated. He states that despite being separated by three decades of age, the two “couldn’t keep our hands off each other” during “the very early stages of our new relationship, when lust reigns supreme…”
Later, he acknowledges that Farrow’s “shock, her dismay, her rage” was “the correct reaction” to learning about the affair, but that he doesn’t regret it. “Sometimes, when the going got rough and I was maligned everywhere, I was asked if I had known the outcome, do I ever wish I never took up with Soon-Yi? I always answered I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” he says. Apropos of Nothing is in fact dedicated to Previn.
At one point, Allen writes that the fallout from both of these situations puts him in rare company:
“I can’t deny that it plays into my poetic fantasies to be an artist whose work isn’t seen in his own country and is forced, because of injustice, to have his public abroad. Henry Miller comes to mind. D.H. Lawrence. James Joyce. I see myself standing amongst them defiantly. It’s about at that point my wife wakes me up and says, ‘You’re snoring.'”
Allen’s memoir was originally set to be released on April 7th by Grand Central Publishing, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group. In 2019, Hachette released Catch and Kill by Allen and Farrow’s biological child, Ronan Farrow. That book recounted Farrow’s years of reporting that led to the Pulitzer Prize winning New Yorker story exposing the now-incarcerated (and infected) Harvey Weinstein for his years of sexual assault and the birth of #MeToo. Upon learning of Hachette’s intentions to publish Allen’s memoir, Ronan and dozens of the company’s employees staged a walkout. Hachette quickly conceded and dropped Apropos of Nothing.
This isn’t Allen’s only release to be impacted by the renewed interest in Dylan’s allegations. Amazon backed out of their multi-picture deal with the filmmaker in 2018, shelving Allen’s latest movie, A Rainy Day in New York, in the process. While the film eventual saw limited release in Europe, it has yet to see screens in the US. Amazon and Allen resolved their contract dispute out of court last fall.
Arcade, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, stepped in and chose to release the book with little fanfare. Said editor Jeannette Seaveer in a statement, “In this strange time, when truth is too often dismissed as ‘fake news,’ we as publishers prefer to give voice to a respected artist, rather than bow to those determined to silence him.”
Apropos of Nothing also includes a postscript in which Allen says Hachette had agreed to publish the book knowing full well he was “a toxic pariah and menace to society.” However, he adds, “When actual flak did arrive they thoughtfully reassessed their position” and “dumped the book like it was a hunk of Xenon 135.”