Monday, 29 August 2016



The Library was part of the Institute.  Behind a counter was an old man with an ink-pad and a large oval stamp, with which he conducted a passionate, erratic campaign against slack morals...[he] had certain fixed standards...Murder he allowed; but not fornication.  Childbirth (especially if the character died of it), but not pregnancy.  Love might be supposed to be consummated as long as no one had any pleasure out of it. There were single words that called for the stamp at once. 'Oh, God!' the characters might cry in their extremity, but not 'Oh, Christ!' 'Breast' was not to be in the plural. 'Rape' sent the stamp plunging and twisting into the purple ink.

from A View of the Harbour, by Elizabeth Taylor (publ. 1947)

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