Category Archives: censorship

Letter in TLS

I’m feeling mildly chuffed that my letter about James Douglas and his 1918 attack on the novel Despised and Rejected has been given pride of place on the Times Literary Supplement letters page today. The TLS website has been redesigned, so that it looks snazzier, but no longer offers a PDF of the week’s letters […]

James Douglas, and ‘Despised and Rejected’

The most recent Times Literary Supplement had a good article (not online, unfortunately) about James Douglas. He was the journalist whose luridly-phrased fulminations inspired the prosecution for obscenity of Lawrence’s The Rainbow, Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness and plenty of other books. David Bradshaw in his article remarks that after Douglas’s comments on The […]

Censoring the Weather

Sir Edward Cook’s The Press in Wartime (published posthumously, 1920) is a good read. Cook had been head of the Press Office, and as chief censor had come in for much criticism from journalists and editors whose work he had hindered. In this book, he defends himself spiritedly, explaining clearly the reasons for censorship. At […]

Unreliable Sources

John Simpson’s new book, Unreliable Sources, is a history of British reporting during the twentieth century, and a thoroughly good read. Simpson (who is, of course, the BBC’s World Affairs editor) casts a journalist’s eye over what his predecessors and colleagues have written ; he is very good at dissecting a news article to show […]


After C.W. Daniel had been convicted under DORA for publishing Despised and Rejected, the novel about homosexuals and pacifists, he received this letter: 20.X.18 Dear Mr Daniel, As I say, I can only hope that the enormous fine inflicted on you, for no offence at all, may serve as an advert, at all events, to […]

Despised and Rejected

I’ve been off to Amsterdam for a few days, during which time I managed to take a look at the archive of the publisher C.W. Daniel (at the International Institute of Social History there.) He was a Tolstoyan pacifist, and a brave and principled man. He went to prison in 1916 rather than pay a […]

Mr Sterling Sticks It Out

During the Great War, a work of fiction had to be pretty extreme to attract the attention of the authorities, who had their work cut out regulating the Press (and were sometimes criticised for only dealing with the London papers, and letting the provincial press go more or less unchecked). A pacifist novel like Theodora […]