Education: The Red-Pulp View

Today's fiction may be corrupting the morals of youth—but not for the reason most people think. It is not the sex, says Novelist J. B. Priestley in the New Statesman and Nation, it's the sadism.

In recent years, says Priestley, both Britain and the U.S. have been deluged with books that "describe, with a gusto missing from the rest of their narratives, scenes that descend to the depths of atrocity. Moreover, they ask not only for our interest, but for our admiration. It is not just the villains who smash noses, gouge eyes, and beat...

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