Palatable Poison: Critical Perspectives on the Well of Loneliness

By Laura Doan; Jay Prosser | Go to book overview
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3
Judgment
(1928)

THE MAGISTRATE: Before delivering my judgment in this case I thought it right to consider this book which is the subject of these proceedings in the light of the statements made by the learned Counsel for the Defense, for whose assistance in the matter I should like to say at once I am very much indebted.

First of all, one thing is clear which does not seem to have been clearly appreciated, that no question of censorship arises here at all. The only question here for me to decide is whether this book is an obscene libel according to the common law of this country because, although the proceedings under which this book has been seized are in the execution of a Statute, I have to be satisfied before I can order this book to be seized and to be destroyed (if I come to that conclusion) that at common law it is an obscene libel.

In the course of this case the issue has been very considerably simplified. It was contended at first by the Defense that this book nowhere in any way related to physical misconduct between these women; that was put forward and strongly urged by the Defense in this case on behalf of the publisher, Mr. Jonathan Cape: it was put forward in cross-examination, and, subsequently, Mr. Norman Birkett in his very interesting speech drew

-39-

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Palatable Poison: Critical Perspectives on the Well of Loneliness
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