This striking work explores the arguments made for and against three forces that have transformed American life in the past century--invasive journalism, realistic fiction, and sex reform. Rochelle Gurstein examines the unexpected consequences of the victory of the "party of exposure," which opened the public sphere to once private matters, and considers the positions of the "party of reticence," which believed that an indiscriminate display of private matters deformed taste and judgment, lowered the tone of public conversation, and polluted public space. Gurstein's penetrating analysis establishes the vital connection between legal-cultural history and current debates over obscenity, privacy, and public decency.
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Gurstein, who teaches history and other subjects at Bard Graduate Center in Manhattan, covers landmark cases such as the 1933 trial exonerating James Joyce's Ulysses of obscenity charges, as well as cases that steadily eroded the right to privacy as defined by Louis Brandeis in 1890.| Read Full Review of The Repeal of Reticence: A Hi...