Pernicious Literature  

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Frontispiece of "Pernicious Literature" (1889)
Frontispiece of "Pernicious Literature" (1889)

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"Pernicious literature" (1889) is a pamphlet by the National Vigilance Association published after the Vizetelly trial concerned with the prohibition of the publication of Émile Zola's books in the United Kingdom.

It consisted of MP Samuel Smith's House of Commons motion (RESOLUTION. HC Deb 08 May 1888 vol 325 cc1707-25 1707 ) with an appeal for 'a healthy public opinion' necessary 'to enable this Association to set the law in motion'.

It also featured 'opinions of the press.'

"We have never been able to believe in the moral intentions of Zola, and it has always been a marvel to us that such a critic as Mr. James should seriously contend for them. Zolaism is a disease. It is a study of the putrid. . . . No one can read Zola without moral contamination." -- The National Vigilance Association, "Pernicious Literature" (1889) citing The Methodist Times's response to the Vizetelly trial


"THE NATIONAL VIGILANCE Association earnestly invite your serious perusal of the following pamphlet, referring to the widespread circulation of pernicious literature among the young people of our nation. The peculiar and special nature of the work done by this Association affords exceptional opportunities of ascertaining the enormous amount of evil which is wrought by the circulation of immoral literature and obscene pictures, and the matter is one of such urgent and vital ..."

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