GREAT BRITAIN: Burst of Verse

As so often happens in the best-regulated societies, Great Britain is currently undergoing a spate of court cases over obscenity in books. Last week seven of the nation's bestselling authors (including Somerset Maugham, Bertrand Russell and J. B. Priestley) took recourse to that most British of responses: a joint letter of protest to the editor of the London Times. "It would be disastrous to English literature," they wrote, "if authors had to write under the shadow of the Old Bailey if they failed to produce works suitable for the teen-ager."

The impressive array of...

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