Abstract

Abstract:

In April 1868, Regina v. Hicklin refined the 1857 Obscene Publications Act by establishing the legal test for obscenity. The case concerned The Confessional Unmasked, until now read as sincere religious controversy. It was in fact flaunting pornography, paradigmatic of the material the 1857 Act prohibited. The story of The Confessional Unmasked and its ineffectual suppression significantly shifts understanding of mid-Victorian practices of censorship. It reveals surprising state tolerance, a decade after the statute passed into law, of a cheap pornographic pamphlet in widespread circulation throughout the United Kingdom for three long and turbulent years.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6547
Print ISSN
0013-8304
Pages
pp. 471-499
Launched on MUSE
2018-06-06
Open Access
No
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