29 MARCH 1930, Page 14


The debate which resulted, during the week, in a modifiea. tion of the censorship powers entrusted to Customs clerks in respect of foreign literature was one 'of the liveliest heard in the Senate for many a day. Senator Bronson, cutting, cultivated, witty, and' ardently liberal, led the devastating attack upon its absurdities and the arbitrariness' of tft. censor- ship which has black-listed hundreds of classics, including the work of Chaucer, Defoe, Swift, Fielding, Smollett, Aristo. phanes, Ovid, Dante, Voltaire, Rousseau, Rabelais,- Ibsen, and Zola, as well as that of many distinguished eonteinporary authors. With no less ability, if with more vehernent feeling, Senator Reed Smoot, of Utah, put the other side of the ease. Exhibiting a collection of classics with marked passages of alleged obscenity, he declared that they should be admitted to the United States only " over my dead body." The'outcome of the debate was a compromise, whereby the final power to decide what books shall or shall not be barred is transferred

from the Customs service to the Federal Courts. •