The Longford Report  

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"“To my mind art exists in the realm of contemplation, and is bound by some sort of imaginative transposition. The moment art becomes an incentive to action it loses its true character. This is my objection to painting with a communist programme, and it would also apply to pornography. In a picture like Correggio's Danae the sexual feelings have been transformed, and although we undoubtedly enjoy it all the more because of its sensuality, we are still in the realm of contemplation. The pornographic wall-paintings in Pompeii are documentaries and have nothing to do with art. There are one or two doubtful cases - a small picture of copulation by Gericault and a Rodin bronze of the same subject. Although each of these is a true work of art, I personally feel that the subject comes between me and complete aesthetic enjoyment. It is like too strong a flavour added to a dish. There remains the extraordinary example of Rembrandt's etching of a couple on a bed, where , where I do not find the subject at all disturbing because it is seen entirely in human terms and is not intended to promote action. But it is, I believe, unique, and only Rembrandt could have done it.” --Kenneth Clark in The Longford Report (1972)

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Pornography, The Longford Report (1972) by Coronet Books is an anti-pornography book with an introduction by Lord Longford. It features an appendix (Appendix V) by Maurice Yaffé which contradicts the report.

The report defined pornography as "that which exploits and dehumanises sex, so that human beings are treated as things and women in particular as sex objects." (412) — a reiteration of D. H. Lawrence's description of it as an "attempt to insult sex, to do dirt on it" (Pornography and Obscenity).

From the publisher

When the Longford Study Group was first set up it attracted a lot of notice, some of it hostile. But during the year’s enquiry by a group of some fifty distinguished public figures and experts, the importance of its work was rapidly acknowledged.

This report is based on research and evidence from those with special experience in the fields of communications, law and morals. Witnesses included the Minister for the Arts; the Directors-General of the BBC and ITA; censors Lord Harlech, John Trevelyan and Stephen Murphy; the Commissioners of the Metropolitan Police; leaders of the national press, and leading film, theatre and book critics. Self-confessed pornographers and their customers were also interviewed.

Although the report recommends a change in the obscenity laws, the scope extends well beyond what has been called “the ultimate bastion” of legislation. Pornography is one example-not necessarily the most dangerous-of a general challenge to the basic values of our society. What the Longford Report does is to examine that challenge in the light of discussion and experience. Anyone bewildered by the changing social morality today, especially those who try to guide the young, should not ignore this valuable document.

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