Puritanism As a Literary Force is a fascinating analysis, excerpted from Mencken's book, A Book of Prefaces, originally published in 1917, fourth edition (1922). "The thing I always have to decide about a manuscript offered for publication, before ever I give any thought to its artistic merit and suitability, is the question whether its publication will be permitted—not even whether it is intrinsically good or evil, moral or immoral, but whether some roving Methodist preacher, self-commissioned to keep watch on letters, will read indecency into it."
Photo of Anthony Comstock, referenced by Mencken, represents the New Puritanism; he was Special Agent for the Post Office and the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. Also, the frontispiece from his book, Fraud Exposed (1880).
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