I, Erzählende Schriften 30, Casanovas Heimfahrt, Seite 126

asanovas Heinfahrt
box 4/11
30 e
4 2
of View
close to three million velumes under its own
Casanova’s Homecoming'
name without the slightest suggestion, direct
Tothe Editor of The Saturdar Resi##:
or indirect, of any violation of the canons
of propricty or decency; here was a bock
May we ask che hospitality of your cel¬
translated and acclaimed in virtually every
umns to correct a perhaps inevitable injus¬
civilized country in the world; a work
tice to one of the world’s outstanding au¬
singled out for endorsement by the Cezumbia
University Course in World Literature spon¬
When Mr. John S. Sumner, Secretary of
sored by President Nicholas Murraz Butler,
che New Vork Society for the Suppression
and by the Encyclopadia Britannica; a book
of Vice, instituted his attarks on “Casanova's
admitted through the customs and the mails;
Homssaming.? by Dr. Arthur Schnitzler,
sold even in Boston; recommended in repre¬
widesp end publicity was given to his charges
sentative institutions of hisher learning;
and to che so-called Craig'' on the publish¬
widely advertised and reviewed in the press;
ers. After a series of hearings and investi¬
prominently #splayed and featured by dis¬
gations, the conclasion of a seven-year legal
tinguisbed b okstores; and approved by so¬
battle on this book was finally reached two
cial agencie and civic bodies—attacked only
wecks ago, when the Grand Jury of New
by Mr. Jo in S. Sumner.
Vork County officially dismissed all of Mr.
A vital principle was at stake in this case.
Sumner’s complaints and announced that
lt we were guilty, then the newspapers, the
there was no basis for any indictment.
magazines, the universities, che school“, the
This decision, coming as it did on top of
libraries of America were also guilty of pur¬
an opinion rendered by Magistrate Maurice
veying objectionable and obscene reading
Gottlieb, completely absolving the book
matter. Hereafter Mr. John S. Sumner and
from any charge of obscenity, marks the
his staff will be better advised if they con¬
final and irrevocable vindication of the
fine tneir energies to the legitimate field of
book, the author, and the publislers.
curbing dissenlination of dirty post-cards
We are not unmindful of the technical
and pornographie films. Let them respect
exigencies of news administration; there is
the freedom of genuine literature in Amer¬
probably more “spot'’ news valuc in an at¬
ica; and let tnem give heed to the edicts of
tack or a complaint than there is in a de¬
good taste and civilized opinion.
fense or an exoneration, For this reason,
Pornography is never published in an
we are not criticizing the newspapers for
open spirit, in the white light of fame and
giving extensive space to the original charges
community endorsement. It is offered in
and recording the final vindication and con¬
dark places and under sinister 7n“ suspicious
clusion of the case in a few meager and
circumstances, Raids by Mr. Sumner’s min¬
routine paragraphs. Nevertheless, we feel
ions should be confined to the back alleys of
it is only fair to Dr. Arthur Schnitzler and
filth, and not to the broad highway of dis¬
to ourselves to direct further attention to the
tinguished creative literature. That is
clean-cut decision and to its significance in
the lesson of the case of“Casanova’s Home¬
ehe world of letters.
ceining,' now happily a closed incident.
Apparently, nobody in the community
found any fault with“Casanova’s Home¬
New York City.
çoming'' except Mr. John S. Sumner. Speak¬
Ing as the paid agent of an extra-legal so¬
ciety, Mr. Sumner took it upon himself to
batract parsages of the book from their con¬
text and brand ihe work as a whole as
Enot only obscene'' but “cons#ively ob¬
scene.? Thus spoke Mr. Sumner. But he
spoke alone. No court, no judge, no legal
body saw fit to validate his charges. On ihe
contrary, the leaders of modern life, the
teachers, the editors, the educators, the phys¬
icians, the critics, the psycliatrists, the min¬
isters promptly and impressively rallied to
the defense of an incontestable classic of
modern literature. There was no doubt as
to the enlightened judgment of the commu¬
nity. From the outset it was not a clash of
representative opinions but a preponderance
in favor of the book.
Nevertheless, Mr. Sumner’s tactics neces¬
sitated the Jong-drawn-out procedure of sev¬
eral court actions, elaborate and costly legal
defense, extended correspondence, symposia,
research, and questionnaires, and the expen¬
diture of the city’s money in administrative
and juristic routine.
The fair name of onc of the greatest writ¬
ers of modern literature was sullied and as¬
sailed by sensational accusations; a bek of