The Hicklin test is a legal test for obscenity established by the English case of Regina v Hicklin (1868). Materials were obscene if they tended "to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences", regardless of its artistic or literary merit. This had the tendency to limit adults to material that only children could read. Which was alright, they said, because, you know. They were just protecting the children.
Finally in the United States, Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957), the U.S. Supreme repudiated the Hicklin test, and defined obscenity more strictly. Only material whose "dominant theme taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest" of the "average person, applying contemporary community standards" could be judged obscene. The material as I said also had to be "taken as a whole" which angered some people, for some reason.
I wonder what the original intent view is of obscenity in the United States.