Reason Writers Around Town: Nick Gillespie on 19th Century Porn Prosecutions
In Sunday's New York Post, Reason.tv Editor in Chief Nick Gillespie revewed Licentious Gotham: Erotic Publishing and Its Prosecution in 19th-Century New York. A snippet:
"Licentious Gotham," a new history by Rutgers law professor Donna Dennis, covers [the wide variety of erotica] and much more in riveting and good-natured detail. It's not just her descriptions and reproductions of old-fashioned dirty pictures that hold the reader's attention. Her discussion and analysis of legal and social responses to the growth of erotica is as compelling as it is comprehensive. Civic leaders fretted that passion-inducing material "posed a special risk of harm because it represented the antithesis of rational, ordered liberty," writes Dennis. As the makers of contemporary porn—and video games, movies, and music—could tell you, such fears are alive and well in contemporary America.