A Matter of Obscenity
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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Geschichte
A comprehensive history of censorship in modern Britain
For Victorian lawmakers and judges, the question of whether a book should be allowed to circulate freely depended on whether it was sold to readers whose mental and moral capacities were in doubt, by which they meant the increasingly literate and enfranchised working classes. The law stayed this way even as society evolved. In 1960, in the obscenity trial over D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover, the prosecutor asked the jury, "Is it a book that you would even wish your wife or your servants to read?" Christopher Hilliard traces the history of British censorship from the Victorians to Margaret Thatcher, exposing the tensions between obscenity law and a changing British society.
Hilliard goes behind the scenes of major obscenity trials and uncovers the routines of everyday censorship, shedding new light on the British reception of literary modernism and popular entertainments such as the cinema and American-style pulp fiction and comic books. He reveals the thinking of lawyers and the police, authors and publishers, and politicians and ordinary citizens as they wrestled with questions of freedom and morality. He describes how supporters and opponents of censorship alike tried to remake the law as they reckoned with changes in sexuality and culture that began in the 1960s.
Based on extensive archival research, this incisive and multifaceted book reveals how the issue of censorship challenged British society to confront issues ranging from mass literacy and democratization to feminism, gay rights, and multiculturalism.
England and Wales, European Court of Human Rights, Post Office Act, Crime, Nationwide Festival of Light, Defamation, Intention (criminal law), Obscenity, Civil service, Amendment, John Stuart Mill, Underground press, Writing, T. S. Eliot, Pornography, Sedition, Politician, Lecture, E. M. Forster, Blasphemous libel, Director of Public Prosecutions, Prostitution, Penguin Books, Recommendation (European Union), Politics, Consideration, Mervyn Griffith-Jones, Freedom of speech, Hank Janson, C. R. Hewitt, Film censorship, Jury, Censorship, Novelist, European Commission of Human Rights, Customs, Cambridge University Press, Publishing, Victorian era, Decriminalization, Lady Chatterley's Lover, The Well of Loneliness, Hicklin test, Teach-in, Lawyer, Homosexuality, On Liberty, Home Secretary, Pornographic film, Publication, Confiscation, Literary criticism, Obscene Publications Acts, Roy Jenkins, A. P. Herbert, Pornographic magazine, Legal Advisor (Office for the Administrative Review of the Detention of Enemy Combatants), Attempt, Barrister, Morality, Pamphlet, European Convention on Human Rights, Deference, Public morality, Solicitor, Imprisonment, Precedent, Immorality, Literature, V., Home Office, Common law, Counsel, English law, Newspaper, Chief constable, Paperback, Arts council, Defendant, Blasphemy law, Private prosecution, Statute, Literary merit, Expert witness, Private member's bill, Chairman, Wolfenden report, Mary Whitehouse, Prosecutor, Legislation, The Juror, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Shame, Police, Obscene Publications Act 1959, Controversy, Law enforcement, Literacy, D. H. Lawrence, Fanny Hill