Monday, February 26, 2007

"Dirt for Art's Sake"

Elisabeth Ladenson is Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and author of, most recently, Dirt for Art's Sake: Books on Trial from Madame Bovary to Lolita.

She tried out the "page 69 test" on Dirt for Art's Sake and reported the following:
I kind of like the page 69 test, although I'm not convinced of its airtight efficacy in all cases. Page 69 of Dirt for Art's Sake is pretty representative as it discusses how the censorship of Flowers of Evil in 1857 just made Baudelaire get all the more Baudelairean in subsequent editions and in fact spend the rest of his life writing more and more disturbing poems to replace the ones that were removed by the court. The only way in which this is not representative is that most of the book is about English and American censorship cases. It begins and ends with French stuff (Flaubert, Baudelaire, the Marquis de Sade), but the bulk is anglophone: Joyce, Radclyffe Hall, Lawrence, Henry Miller, Nabokov.

And Fanny Hill, of course! And I also deal with films.

Also, p. 169 is actually better than p. 69.
Read the publisher's description and an excerpt from Dirt for Art's Sake.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Series.