The bestselling author of The Beauty Myth, Vagina and The End of America
illuminates a dramatic history - how the Obscene Publications Act of 1857
led to a maelstrom, with reverberations lasting to our day. At once,
dissent and morality, deviancy and normalcy, became modern legal concepts:
if writers, editors, printers and booksellers did not uphold the law and
the morals of society they faced serious repercussions. Wolf depicts the
ways this censorship played out - decades before the infamous trial of
Oscar Wilde - among a bohemian group of 'sexual dissidents', including Walt
Whitman in America and the English critic John Addington Symonds, who fell
in love with Whitman's homoerotic voice in Leaves of Grass. This was a
dangerous love, as dire prison terms and even executions became penalties
for such love, even if only expressed on the page. Algernon Charles
Swinburne, Dante and Christina Rossetti, Walter Pater and painter Simeon
Solomon were among the artists whose lives were shadowed with jeopardy. But
Wolf also reveals how, cleverly, they crafted their works to avoid the
censor. Wolf recounts how a dying Symonds, inspired by his love for
Whitman, helped to write the book on 'sexual inversion' one of the
foundations of our modern understanding of homosexuality. By shining a
light on his secret memoir, rightfully understood as one of the first gay
rights manifestos in the west, Outrages also shows how the literature of
love ultimately triumphs over censorship.

Naomi Wolf—Outrages - Sex, Censorship And The Criminalisation Of Love

  • 9780349004082