British modernism and censorship


    • Marshik, Celia


British modernism and censorship

Celia Marshik

Cambridge University Press, 2006

  • : pbk

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Includes bibliographical references (p. 207-242) and index

"Select bibliography": p. 243-251



Government censorship had a profound impact on the development of canonical modernism and on the public images of modernist writers. Celia Marshik argues that censorship can benefit as well as harm writers and the works they create in response to it. She weaves together histories of official and unofficial censorship, of individual writers and their relationships to such censorship and of British modernism. Throughout, Marshik draws on an extraordinary range of evidence, including the files of government agencies and social purity organisations. She analyses how works were written, revised, published and performed in relation to this complex web of social forces. Chapters of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce and Jean Rhys demonstrate that by both reacting against and complying with the forces of repression, writers reaped personal and stylistic benefits for themselves and for society at large.


  • Introduction: the ethics of indecency
  • 1. Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the censorship dialectic
  • 2. Bernard Shaw's defensive laughter
  • 3. Virginia Woolf and the gender censorship
  • 4. James Joyce and the necessary scandal of art
  • 5. Jean Rhys and the downward path
  • Afterword: forgotten evils
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index.

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