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THE SECRET MUSEUM Pornography in Modern Culture by Walter Kendrick (Penguin Books: $7.95)

May 29, 1988|ELENA BRUNET

A measured treatise on our "great age of 'pornography,' when the word was invented, and the past was scoured to locate those books and pictures that had been 'pornographic' all along without anyone knowing it." Walter Kendrick studies the phenomenon of dirty art and literature, from the obscene frescoes recovered from the last days at Pompeii, through the attempted banning of "Ulysses" and "Lolita," to the Meese Commission on Pornography and Obscenity. Kendrick's work is not one of outraged morality but a reasoned meditation and history of the nature and quality of morality and social attitudes toward matters sexual.

"A droll entertainment on a supposedly dirty subject," Art Seidenbaum wrote in these pages.

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