From Love to Grief
Rod Mengham - The Obscene Emotions of Nell Dunn
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University of Cambridge
The Obscene Emotions of Nell Dunn1
Obscenity had an interesting career in British common law during the twentieth century. The Regina v. Hicklin case of 1868, had set the test of obscenity as “whether the tendency of the letter published is to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influence and into whose hands the publication might fall.” This remained the basic working definition until 1959, when the Obscene Publications Act added a mix of more conservative and more liberal conditions, whose outcome shall be the focus of this article. Prosecutions continued to be brought after 1959, at a fairly steady rate, right up to the 1990s when the number of cases tried began to fall off, largely because the Crown Prosecution service recommended a more diversified charging practice making use of “alternative offences,” such as Extreme Pornography, Indecent Photographs of Children, Revenge Pornography, Offences under the Video Recordings Acts of 1984 and 2010, Indecent Displays Act of 1981, Importation of Indecent and Obscene Material, and the Children and Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act of 1955.
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