Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Comstock Law


This morning, in a half-asleep daze, I heard Garrison Keillor say something interesting on "The Writer's Alamanac."

You know his spellbinding voice....Imagine it now

"On this day in 1873, Congress enacted the Comstock Law, making it illegal to send any "obscene, lewd, or lascivious" materials (including books) through the U.S. mail system. It was under the Comstock Law that James Joyce's Ulysses was barred from the mail until the court finally determined that it was not obscene."

I love the fact that, once upon a time, people felt threatened by books. Can you imagine that today? Wouldn't it be great to have that kind of relevance?

1 comment:

artandliterature said...

I wonder what the last book was whose publication prompted any outcry: Rushdie's Satanic Verses? Maybe American Psycho? Each seems a long time ago.... What since?