Hailed as ‘Dirty Book of the Month’ by Time in 1966, this novel was an instant bestseller. But not in Ireland, where it was illegal to sell it between 1967 and 1979. What does this classic of women’s fiction have to say about feminism, sex and medicine? With Dr Cara Rodway.
Hundreds of magazine titles were banned by the Irish censor. This true-crime periodical, full of murder and gangsterism, couldn’t avoid being banned for discussing crime. But advertising ‘daring’ and ‘frank’ books didn’t help either.
Both these artists were renowned for their religious subject matter but they still offended important people.
The Playboy Riots were a notoriously rowdy series of audience protests in the Abbey Theatre. The patrons were so offended by The Playboy of the Western World their loud singing and heckling drowned out the actors. This much-studied moment in Irish cultural history deserves a deep-dive into the play itself and the over-reaction to its performance.
With guest, Dr Lloyd (Maedhbh) Houston, I discussed the play and the uproar it caused, paying particular attention to drunken singing and the comedy act of one protestor, Mr Overcoat.
Banning antique erotica was a strange feature of the late censorship regime. Full of whipping and racism, this was not a book I enjoyed even if its history was fascinating.
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.
Errol Flynn was extremely hot in his day but you might not see his beautiful face in the same way after reading his memoir. A scandalous take on Golden Age Hollywood, it was too salacious for the Irish market.
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.
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?