A novel surrounded by myths and outrage, I waited a long time to read this particular banned book. Part one of an infamous trilogy, its author soon became the focus of official Ireland’s outrage machine. I will explore books 2 and 3 later on in the season but I was joined for book 1 by guest Dr Maureen O’Connor.
When Seán O’Faoláin tried to do for Cork what Joyce had done for Dublin. He was disgusted when this love letter to his native city was banned and spent years agitating against censorship.
A guide to school life that was so radical the Pope declared it sacrilegious. For once, the Irish were not the only ones over-reacting to this tiny little book. It was 2014 before a full, uncensored version was published in Britain.
This short popular anthropology book made Margaret Mead into a prominent public intellectual. It’s full of radical ideas about family formation, gender roles and sexual expression. Written by a woman who believed in polygamy, it’s a wonder it took nearly 20 years for the Irish censors to ban it.
A hilarious sketch on the novels of Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy and DH Lawrence seems like an odd target for the censors. But the satire couldn’t cover up the contraceptive advice and sexual deviance.
James Joyce went way beyond smut when he wrote Ulysses, an epic modernist masterpiece. The censorship history of Ulysses is as mind boggling as the author’s bloody-minded determination to offend. In a bizarre twist, this filthy book was never banned in Ireland.
The scrutiny of the censor was confined to the English language. But works in Irish, the other language of the state, were also censored by editors, bureaucrats and catholic reactionaries. No language was allowed to explore scandalous ‘sex feelings’.
When The Dark was banned in 1965, John McGahern’s life changed dramatically. A story of vengeful clerics, useless unions and disinterested civil servants that stands as the greatest censorship scandal in modern Ireland.
When The Dark was banned in 1965, John McGahern became the focus of a censorship controversy. But what about this coming-of-age novel irked the censors?
Hall’s queer text was at the centre of a moral panic and censorship show trial in England. Why did the Irish censor ban it, when an English prohibition meant Irish booksellers couldn’t source the book?