7 JUNE 1935, Page 20


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.]

Sua,—On April 28th I sent you a letter protesting against the fact that the Listener had not only refused to review my book Sex and Revolution but had rejected an advertisement from my publishers. Although you did not publish this letter you will, I think, be glad to learn that the B.B.C. have since yielded to pressure and that the offending advertisement appeared in the Listener of May 29th. I understand that other publishers besides Messrs. Allen and Unwin represented very forcibly to the B.B.C. that if the Listener was going to discriminate between the books of a reputable publishing house in the matter of advertisement they would have to consider very seriously their advertising policy.

This is a small victory for freedom of thought and the free circulation of ideas. But the incident gives rise to dis- quieting speculations. Is it indicative of the spirit in which the Listener is run ? If so the situation is a grave one. The Listener is not only a reprint of the more important broad- casts ; it contains literary criticisms and editorial comment on the news of the week. In consequence it is a rival to the literary and political weeklies, and has, in fact, by reason of the colossal resources behind it and consequent low price, seriously impaired their already difficult position. . These

weeklies, whatever their politics, maintain a very high standard of public duty and fairness. In the matter of books their readers can rely on a good, all-round, and _unbiassed, presen- tation of current literature. It is surely a disaster if the Listener which has every appearance of being liberal, in the best sense, and which attracts many subscribers away from the older publications, is in fact dominated by an obscurantist and censorious spirit.—Yours faithfully,