JoS was the bestselling sex guide that captured the spirit of the 70s sexual revolution. Although it was banned in Ireland, it was openly on sale here. How does censorship work if nobody pays any attention to the law?
Whether cordon bleu or gourmet lovemaking, the illustrations made JoS infamous.
Why did the Irish censors ignore this spectacularly rude book? And why is a novel about a sex-obsessed Jewish man so important in the history of censorship in Australia?
Cover art from the first edition, by Paul Bacon
What happens when a child meets a horned man in a dark forest? A books that explores the nature of evil and decides that sex isn’t the problem.
I love this cover!
A candid, haunting novel about the coming-of-age of a teenage girl. Full of decadent sexuality that would have given the censors a fit of the vapours.
2013 Harper Perennial Classics Edition
How did a subtle, refined war novel earn a ban? Perhaps the faeces and war crimes were more offensive than the barely-there sex.
This is a silly rather than sexy book. Why on earth was such a trashy, ridiculous banned when the censor ignored sex in serious literature?
The 1984 revised edition
Holden Caulfield’s swearing and sex talk has offended many since 1951. This book is now a modern classic but why is a story of a poor little rich kid still read and enjoyed today?
Hoult was banned more often than any other Irish woman writer. Only the censor’s beady eye could see filth in a novel about loneliness and dementia.
Persephone Books keep forgotten books in print – thanks to them I could read Norah Hoult for this episode.
A love letter to Harlem and it’s music, this book offended all kinds of people. McKay’s honesty about sex was brave and inflammatory.
Cover of 1987 edition
A little book of folklore that became infamous. It was debated in parliament where nationalists denounced the elderly couple who were the subject of the book. But was the bull/cow story really that rude?