Gilbert Highet on Censorship, 1954

A collage of his words

Tucker Lieberman
4 min readNov 18, 2023

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An erasure/collage of “External Hindrances,” Part Two, Chapter Three of Man’s Unconquerable Mind (Columbia University Press, 1954) by Gilbert Highet (1906–1978).

‘Man’s Unconquerable Mind’: External Hindrances

At first, I’m intrigued.

Cave man painting a running stag? Standards of good and evil? Transmuted into living flames? I’m in.

Image 1 of 3: Phrases of the paperback have been cut out with scissors and arranged on the red book cover. The full transcription is at the bottom of the article because it won’t fit here in the alt text.
Gilbert Highet’s book with phrases cut out — Tucker Lieberman

Then it gets a little weird.

The author is just very intense and specific about whatever he’s talking about.

Image 2 of 3: Phrases of the paperback have been cut out with scissors and arranged on the red book cover. The full transcription is at the bottom of the article because it won’t fit here in the alt text.
Gilbert Highet’s book with phrases cut out — Tucker Lieberman

Oh, the author is defending censorship.

No one will agree on exactly how to what to do about material that corrupts the youth, he says, but we can’t just continue allowing the free distribution of information about sex, violence, and drugs.

Image 3 of 3: Phrases of the paperback have been cut out with scissors and arranged on the red book cover. The full transcription is at the bottom of the article because it won’t fit here in the alt text.
Gilbert Highet’s book with phrases cut out — Tucker Lieberman

The Text from Highet in the Images Above

The transcription didn’t fit as alt text, so I’ve written it here. All the words came from the same chapter, but the phrases are rearranged.

Image 1

Eppur si muove (‘It moves, all the same’) — human spirit faces two dangers, both appallingly powerful and urgent. One is laziness, the other is tyranny. — cave man who painted a running stag and then painted a spear piercing it was not remembering something which had happened. He was making something happen. — and went through book after book, the others watched him with bewilderment. Finally, as he threw away the fifteenth volume and opened the sixteenth — particular standards of good and evil — reason is permanent — a terrible region inhabited by souls that that have been transmuted into living flames. — living there on a sack of oatmeal and a few salt herring brought from their cottage homes, and rising to — as eccentric and be as…

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Tucker Lieberman

Editor for Prism & Pen. Author of the novel "Most Famous Short Film of All Time." https://tuckerlieberman.com/