The best-selling author of Vagina illuminates a dramatic history - how a single English law in 1857 led to a maelstrom, with reverberations lasting down to our day. That law was the Obscene Publications Act, and it was a crucial turning point. Why? Because dissent and morality, ´deviancy´ and ´normalcy´, unprintable and printable were suddenly lawful concepts in the modern sense. This new law effectively invented modern obscenity. Before 1857 it wasn´t ´homosexuality´ - a term that didn´t yet exist - that was a crime but simply the act of sodomy. But in a single stroke, not only was love between men illegal, but anything referring to this love also became obscene, unprintable, unspeakable. And writers, editors and printers became the gatekeepers with a responsibility to uphold the morals of the society - followed by serious criminal penalties if they didn´t. And as the act evolved, joined by other laws against sexual representation and speech, making their way to courts, the authors´ or artists´ intentions were deemed immaterial. What mattered was if the work in question had a ´tendency...to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences, and into whose hands a publication of this sort may fall´. Wolf paints the dramatic ways this set of laws and consolidation of what we would call homophobia and censorship, played out among a bohemian group of sexual dissidents, including Walt Whitman in America and the homosexual English critic John Addington Symonds - in love with Whitman´s homoerotic voice in Leaves of Grass - decades before the infamous 1895 trial of Oscar Wilde. She retrieves forgotten history of men and even young teenage boys, executed at the Old Bailey for ´sodomy´ or even ´the attempt´. Algernon Charles Swinburne, Dante and Christina Rossetti, Walter Pater and painter Simeon Solomon, were among the writers and artists, and countless booksellers and printers, whose lives were 1. Language: English. Narrator: Patricia Rodriguez. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/twuk/002295/bk_twuk_002295_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.