Gotham Logo Gotham Logo  
 
About The Gotham Center
Recent Books on NYC History
back to book list
Licentious Gotham: Erotic Publishing and Its Prosecution in Nineteenth-century New York
by Donna Dennis
Publisher: Harvard University Press 2009
Category:
Avg Rating: (0 reviews)
Licentious Gotham, set in the streets, news depots, publishing houses, grand jury chambers, and courtrooms of the nation’s great metropolis, delves into the stories of the enterprising men and women who created a thriving transcontinental market for sexually arousing books and pictures. The experiences of “fancy” publishers, “flash” editors, and “racy” novelists, who all managed to pursue their trade in the face of laws criminalizing obscene publications, dramatically convey nineteenth-century America’s daring notions of sex, gender, and desire, as well as the frequently counterproductive results of attempts to enforce conventional moral standards. In nineteenth-century New York, the business of erotic publishing and legal attacks on obscenity developed in tandem, with each activity shaping and even promoting the pursuit of the other. Obscenity prohibitions, rather than curbing salacious publications, inspired innovative new styles of forbidden literature—such as works highlighting expressions of passion and pleasure by middle-class American women. Obscenity prosecutions also spurred purveyors of lewd materials to devise novel schemes to evade local censorship by advertising and distributing their products through the mail. This subterfuge in turn triggered far-reaching transformations in strategies for policing obscenity. Donna Dennis offers a colorful, groundbreaking account of the birth of an indecent print trade and the origins of obscenity regulation in the United States. By revealing the paradoxes that characterized early efforts to suppress sexual expression in the name of morality, she suggests relevant lessons for our own day.

Reviews

(none)

Write a Review

On a scale of 1 to 5 stars, with 5 stars being the best,
How do you rate this book?
Please enter a title for your review:
Type your review in the space below:

Search Books
 

Featured Books

Trying Leviathan: The Nineteenth-Century New York Court Case That Put the Whale on Trial and Challenged the Order of Nature
by D. Graham Burnett
More

740 Park: The Story of the World's Richest Apartment Building
by Michael Gross
More

A House On The Heights
by Truman Capote
More

A Moment in the Sun
by John Sayles
More

Abandoned: Foundlings in Nineteenth-Century New York City
by Julie Miller
More

American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, The Birth of the "It" Girl and The Crime of the Century.
by Paula Uruburu
More

Fat of the Land: The Garbage Behind New York-The Last Two Hundred Years
by Benjamin Miller
More

Forgotten Patriots: The Untold Story of American Prisoners during the American Revolution
by Edwin G. Burrows
More

Gastropolis: Food and New York City
by Annie Hauck-Lawson and Jonathan Deutsch, eds.
More

Gravesend, Brooklyn: Then and Now
by Joseph Ditta
More

Half Slave Half Free
by David Manning
More

Harlem vs. Columbia University: Black Student Power in the Late 1960s
by Stefan M. Bradley
More

Here is New York
by E. B. White
More

Life on the Lower East Side: Photographs by Rebecca Lepkoff, 1937-1950
by Rebecca Lepkoff, Suzanne Wasserman, Peter Dans
More

Manhattan Projects: The Rise and Fall of Urban Renewal in Cold War New York
by Samuel Zipp
More

Nearest Thing to Heaven: The Empire State Building and American Dreams
by Mark Kingwell
More

New York City Trees: A Field Guide for the Metropolitan Area
by Edward Sibley Barnard
More

On the Town: One Hundred Years of Spectacle in Times Square
by Marshall Berman
More

On the Wall: Four Decades of Community Murals in NYC
by Janet Braun-Reinitz and Jane Weissman
More

Other People’s Money: Inside the Housing Crisis and the Demise of the Greatest Real Estate Deal Ever Made
by Charles Bagli
More

Queen of the Air: A True Story of Love and Tragedy at the Circus
by Dean Jensen
More

The City’s End: Two Centuries of Fantasies, Fears, and Premonitions of New York’s Destruction
by Max Page
More

Categories
19th century
20th century
Architecture/Built Environment
Bronx
Brooklyn
Dutch/Colonial
Fiction
Immigration
Journal Articles
Leisure
Manhattan
Neighborhoods
Non-fiction
Papers/Dissertations
Photography/Art/Design
Politics
Queens
Reference
Staten Island
Tours
Transit
Urbanism
Wall Street
Waterfront

Donate Now!
Help support the Gotham Center.


Municipal Art Society's

Urban Center Books
Specializing in architecture and related subjects.



© Gotham Center for New York City History. All Rights Reserved.

The Gotham Center for New York City History
The Graduate Center, The City University of New York, Room 6103
365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016-4309
Telephone: 212-817-8460
FAX: 212-817-1541
E-mail: gotham@gc.cuny.edu