26 DECEMBER 1931, Page 3

Novels and the B.B.C.

The B.B.C., if it is open to conviction at all, must be convinced by this time that the decision ascribed to it of prohibiting the mention of contemporary novels by name in its literary talks is all wrong. That does not mean that the practice it is proposed to abandon was- all right. There has been widespread complaint that the B.B.C. literary critics appeared to make a point of advertizing, and often commending, the so-called " modern " type of novel (in fact the oldest and most hackneyed of all time) which specializes in sex in its more extravagant or perverted forms. So far as that is true there is a strong case for selecting critics who arc content to choose the few books the time at their disposal allows them to mention out of the vast mass of literature clamouring for notice, and to ignore entirely the handful of sex-obsessed authors. If it follows that course the B.B.C. will in no way deserve, and can well afford to disregard, any charge of puritanism or narrow-mindedness. Healthy and open freedom in sex matters, whether in life or in literature, does no one any harm. But it is no part of the B.B.C.'s business to popularize writers who choose to specialize in furtive filth.

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