As a general rule, defending censorship is an “unseemly” endeavor, particularly in liberal corners, as Nora Gilbert notes in the opening of her book Better Left Unsaid: Victorian Novels, Hays Code Films, and the Benefits of Censorship. To censor is to shut down, restrict, or in some other fashion prohibit, as in the failed social experiment called Prohibition during the 1920s in the United States, which produced elaborate and illegal go-arounds for the average American, those places called speakeasies, and a thriving black market in alcohol. Despite the best efforts of the United States Postal Service, banned novels like Lady Chatterley's Lover or Ulysses made it into eager readers' hands. In other words, censorship often produces quite the opposite of the intended effect and heightens the desire for whatever the forbidden fruit might be rather than squashing it. Gilbert's book questions...
On the Benefits of a Ban
stephanie a. smith is professor, associate chair and undergraduate coordinator of English, and a novelist at the University of Florida. Her most recent critical work is Household Words (2006), and she has recently published a trilogy of novels, The Warpaint Trilogy.
Stephanie A. Smith; On the Benefits of a Ban. Novel 1 November 2015; 48 (3): 502–504. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00295132-3150541
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