Summer 1967 • Vol. XXIX No. 3 Nonfiction |

The Literary Censorship in England

I have three angry letters. One is from a man whose local municipal library doesn't stock Last Exit to Brooklyn, and doesn't even offer to get it for him. Another is from a man who actually wanted to buy (buy!) Sandford Friedman's novel Totempole at a W. H. Smith's bookshop, and was told that it was "not handled" (a fastidiously disengaging phrase?) by that mighty organization. The third is from a publisher who wants me to promise that I will give evidence, as a literary "expert," which I'm not, that the publication of a highly obscene novel he is thinking of offering to the world (it had better be nameless in case he does) will be "for the public good on the ground that it is in the interests of science, literature, art or learning, or of other objects of general concern." That last bit comes from the current Obscene Publications Act, a "liberalizing" measure, in the drafting and furtherance of which, in 1959, I played a part that I can now see to have been small in relation to the

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I have three angry letters. One is from a man whose local municipal library doesn't stock Last Exit to Brooklyn, and doesn't even offer to get it for him. Another […]

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