A History Of Pornography

ABC recently broadcasted a radio show about the history of pornography. It features several experts including Catherine Lumby discussing how pornography has gradually become a thing that governments feel they must control. It’s a fascinating idea, this steady encroachment of censorship on material that was, in the past, freely available.


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When you had early pornographic works, 18th century classics like Fanny Hill, most of the population is not literate. The literate classes, the more educated classes, the males at least, collected Fanny Hill and of course they didn’t think it would corrupt them, but as literacy develops and, in the United States, as working youth, male and female, start congregating in cities for employment, as immigrants start coming to the United States and you have working people reading, reading detective magazines, reading romance novels, this is when the opinion makers, the ruling classes begin to want to establish legal controls.

2 Replies to “A History Of Pornography”

  1. Oh, thanks for that link. I’m moderately tempted to transcribe the whole thing for my column next week, it’s was really interesting.

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