In the two decades or so after World War I, demography was not yet a well-established scientific discipline, and the topic of conception control still carried the whiff of smuttiness
among the era's mostly upper-class scholars.
The perceived smuttiness
of Naturalist literature was the proximate cause for the caricatural attacks, yet in many respects Manet's portrait represents the fulcrum upon which Zola's public image pivoted.
When British authors tackle their own mass society, they usually do so with intellectual dishonesty combined with adolescent smuttiness
: consequently their productions (evasive in a different way) are, from the literary point of view, quite worthless.
Stevie's involuntary bodily response to the anarchist papers aligns their inflammatory political content with the pornographic "shady wares" of Verloc's shop: such coincidence serves to "tarnish the glamour of subversive politics with the smuttiness
of tawdry sex" (Shaffer, 443).
But the more you stare, the more the smuttiness
of it becomes just a meaningless splurge of banality.
Petronius contained 'agreeable and ingenious fictions, but very often too wanton and immodest,' (17) and his style was too affected: 'he is somewhat too much Painted and Studied, and degenerates from that natural and majestic simplicity of the happy age of Augustus.' (18) Apuleius' novel was 'an Italian fiction very divertising and full of Wit,' (19) but 'he has not at all retrencht the smuttiness
which was in the Originals which he had followed' and 'his style is that of a Sophist, full of affectation and violent figures, hard, barbarous and befitting an African.' (20)
LEE: You know I can't tolerate that kind of smuttiness