Rachel Potter. Obscene Modernism: Literary Censorship and Experiment 1900-1940. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. 231p. ISBN 9780199680986. £55.00 (hardback).
Why was Ulysses deemed obscene? Why was The Rainbow banned? What was offensive about Boy or The Well of Loneliness? Why did so many modernist writers get into trouble with the law, in Britain and in the USA? Why, in 1923, in an orgy of righteousness, was the entire cast of a Broadway play arrested and prosecuted for obscenity? What was it about Anglo-American society that reacted so viscerally and vehemently to mention of sex or shit?
Rachel Potter’s consistently interesting and illuminating book sets out to show why and how this could happen.