"I've read more dirty books than any man in New England"
September 25, 2014 2:09 PM   Subscribe

An interview with the man who banned in Boston, circa 1930. The New Republic is republishing a haul of classics from its archives in celebration of its 100th anniversary. In honor of banned books week, today's selection is a brief interview/profile of one of the U.S. Customs officials in charge of clearing books for circulation circa 1930. posted by Diablevert (5 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
He gave off a confusion of qualities which would have put a dog in ecstasies but which can only puzzle a man.

This dog is in ecstasies over the fantastic writing.
posted by kanewai at 3:40 PM on September 25, 2014

Vale, & quicquid acciderit, cogita te mortalemeffe [redacted]

Oh man, just when it was getting to the hot stuff!
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:42 PM on September 25, 2014

What an awful job. Almost as bad as movie critic.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:33 PM on September 25, 2014

“Did you ever see a pervert with dirty hands?”

That is an amazing line.
posted by Grimgrin at 5:47 PM on September 25, 2014

This sheds a fascinating bit of light on a small part of my childhood. I grew up reading and rereading the collected works of Francis Dahl, who was a cartoonist for the Boston Herald starting in 1930, the same year this article was published. One of his recurrent themes was books that were Banned in Boston, and the particular cartoon that sticks with me is one where an incensed citizen marches into the censor's office to complain about a book. He had driven all the way to Watertown to buy this book, because it was banned in Boston, and was absolutely outraged to discover that it was a lousy book. He'd come to regard "Banned in Boston" as a mark of the highest quality in literature, and felt that the censor's standards were slipping.

I don't have it in front of me, but in my recollection, the censor in the cartoon looks exactly like the man described in the article. Now I know why.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 7:19 AM on September 26, 2014

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