The Secret Museum

Walter Kendrick, Author Viking Books $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-670-81363-6
Surprisingly, the word ""pornography'' is only 130 years old, and originally it meant ``a description of prostitutes or of prostitution, as a matter of public hygiene.'' In this well-researched, nontitillating study of the phenomenon, Village Voice editor Kendrick (The Novel Machine goes back to the erotic murals of ancient Pompeii and forward to the recent presidential commissions on pornography to show how public attitudes have changed. Invoking such names as Margaret Sanger, Justice Brennan, Steven Marcus, Susan Sontag, New York vice investigators Anthony Comstock and John S. Sumner, he describes the trials of birth-control advocates and publishers of such ``dirty books'' as Madame Bovary, Nana, Ulysses and Lady Chatterley's Lover, examines the concepts of eroticism, obscenity and ``redeeming social significance'' and quotes extensively from legal opinions. Kendrick concludes that the most dismaying aspect of the ``invincingly self-righteous'' feminist anti-pornography campaign is its ``exact resemblance'' to the vigilantism of the Legion of Decency and to every such effort that preceded it. (April 23)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1987
Release date: 04/01/1987
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 288 pages - 978-0-520-91854-2
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-520-20729-5
Paperback - 30 pages - 978-0-14-010947-4
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