Purity in Print: The Vice-Society Movement and Book Censorship in America

Purity in Print: The Vice-Society Movement and Book Censorship in America

Purity in Print: The Vice-Society Movement and Book Censorship in America

Purity in Print: The Vice-Society Movement and Book Censorship in America

Excerpt

When Americans of the 1920s grew bored by Mah-Jongg, Lindbergh, or Wall Street, they frequently turned for diversion to the seemingly endless series of book censorship cases which punctuated the decade. D. H. Lawrence, James Branch Cabell, H. L. Mencken, and James Joyce--not to mention Voltaire, Petronius, Boccaccio, and Rabelais--all at one time or another fell under the ban, to a full accompaniment of fervent approval and outraged protest.

Many of these censorship efforts proved upon examination to be the work of self-constituted organizations dedicated to the suppression of vice--particularly when "vice" appeared between the covers of a book. Gradually these vice societies, as they were called, came to typify mindless, prudish hostility . . .

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