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Book Reviews were friendly early in their careers, Lang eventually downplayed, even ridiculed, the American expatriate in England. The British critic opines: "There are plenty of good books without reading Tragic Muses"; and, "I am told William James is very ill, 'if it were his brother, still better than another,' as far as some of his things go." Lang's romanticism, to the point of escapism in terms of his outlook on imaginative literature, was in conflict with James's psychological realism. Lang even ridicules Mark Twain unmercifully, but to ridicule also appears to exhibit confusion: "Mark's manner is like a fifth form boy's and not good form at all at that." '"Nigger,"' says Lang, "is all over Mark Twain's books. I tried to read an extremely stupid one called The Gilded Age, but found it hopeless"; and further yet, Mark Twain "is illiterate, and as funnily out of it as can be." Lang's appraisal of Emily Dickinson's poetry perhaps reaches the nadir of his critical acumen: "Miss D. has an occasional good line or two, but she is astonishingly silly and anarchic." Remarking about a sports expedition that he made, Lang writes to his friend Matthews that there is here "a setter named Sappho, of a lugubrious disposition. I prefer to call her Emily Dickinson, as more appropriate to her style of howl." Andrew Lang was an important translator of Homer and a brilliant scholar as a student at Oxford University, but his literary criticism reveals some glaring limitations. Demoor's impeccable scholarship inevitably provides more evidence for such a conclusion. James D. Woolf Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne Censorship of the Arts and the Press Robert Justin Goldstein. Political Censorship of the Arts and the Press in Nineteenth-Century Europe. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989. xx + 232 pp. 35.00 CENSORSHIP, WHETHER MOTIVATED BY political or artistic considerations , has not yet been eradicated in Britain. Prosecutions under the Obscene Libel Act of 1959 make this clear (Fanny Hill, 1965; Last Exit to Brooklyn, 1967), as does the persistent hostility of the Thatcher government towards the revelation of wrongdoing in government (the recent Spycatcher case is a prime example). Governments are rarely keen to encourage the expression of dissenting opinion even where, as in Britain, the tradition is basically a liberal one. 497 ELT: Volume 33:4 1990 It is a merit of Robert Goldstein's interesting book, Political Censorship of the Arts and the Press in Nineteenth-Century Europe, that it demonstrates the accuracy of this truism. Taking as his brief the whole of Europe in the nineteenth century, Goldstein shows that censorship was prevalent everywhere, including Britain where the termination of the Licensing Act in 1695 had freed the press from prepublication controls. He connects censorship to autocratic political control. Wherever the latter was a decisive factor, as in Russia, the degree of overt censorship imposed by the state was considerable. (In Russia prior censorship of the press was not abolished until the revolution of 1905.) Methods of control were never as harsh in Britain. But they existed and were oftentimes effective. Financial restraints on the press stifled critical comment, authors of controversial works were prosecuted for libel after their books appeared, and informal pressure groups like the Society for the Suppression of Vice were encouraged to play an active political role. Most insidious of all, perhaps, was selfcensorship . Tolstoy's acute observation that "What matters is not what the censor does to what I have written but to what I might have written" was validated in Victorian Britain as writers like Trollope and Hardy ignominiously gave in to public disapproval. The "sanitary precaution," as conservatives proudly dubbed censorship, was indeed a fact of life. Much of the interest in Goldstein's study derives from its breadth. This is the first book to set the British example firmly in the comparative framework. It is helpful to be reminded that censorship existed everywhere else, often with dire consequences. Russia's autocratic rulers predictably laid blanket restrictions on the press, opera, theatre, and the publication of caricatures, but so too did German and French parliamentarians. Simplicissimus, the caricature journal that...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 497-499
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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