Is it a subversive lesbian romance or a psychological thriller? The hetronormative censor saw a dangerous text with a ‘general tendency to deprave’.
S2 E4 Evil Contraception: Marie Stopes, ‘Married Love’ (1918)
Marie Stopes’ advocacy of contraception was radial in 1918 but it was 1980 before the Irish public could read her sex manual.
S2 E3 Pure filth: JP Donleavy, ‘The Ginger Man’ (1955)
Was it literature or porn? With sex on nearly every page, it wasn’t surprising this Irish novel was banned for decades. Sebastian Dangerfield is as dirty and unwashed as he is filthy minded.
S2 E2 Thrusting Ecstasy: Anais Nin, ‘A Spy in the House of Love’ (1954)
If you like florid descriptions of sex spiced with psychoanalysis, this is the book for you. Unfortunately, it is not my kind of book.
S2 E1 A lot of ridin’: Keane, ‘Two Days in Aragon’ (1942)
A Big House novel where ordered tennis parties are subverted by fucking in the fields and bondage in the basement. You’d never think it from the cover, would you?
S1 E10 Murdoch, ‘The Flight from the Enchanter’ (1956): Freaky Foreigners
Why is so hard to find sex in a book saturated with sex? Trigger-happy censors overestimated the filth in this rich and inventive novel.
S1 E9 Huxley, ‘Point Counter Point’ (1928): amoral sex
One of the first books banned by the censor, this modernist classic is full of indecent and obscene ideas about sex.
S1 E8 Orrie Hitt, ‘Pleasure Ground’ (1961): Babes and Boobs
With a saucy cover showing lots of female flesh, Hitt’s book was never going to be sold in Ireland. But did the text deliver on the smutty promise of the cover art?
S1 E7 Anon, ‘The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk’ (1836)
Why would a censor in 1964 worry about a book published more than a century earlier? Perhaps a Gothic horror story featuring fornicating nuns and priests was just too much. Or maybe this historical curiosity was packed in a racy, titillating cover?
S1 E6 Sex in Suburbia: Richard Yates, ‘Revolutionary Road’ (1961)
This classic American novel critiques marriage, gender roles and masculinity. So was it the sex or the reproductive choices that attracted the ire of the censor?