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?
S1 E5 Joseph Heller, ‘Catch-22’ (1961)
An instant bestseller in Britain, ‘Catch-22’ was banned in Ireland from 1962 to 1974. There’s lots of sex in this book but the first sentence was the reason it was banned.
S1 E4 Kathleen Winsor, ‘Forever Amber’ (1944)
Forever Amber is the original bonkbuster, whose commercial success led to Peyton Place (1956) and Riders (1985).
Banned in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Massachusetts as indecent, it sold millions of copies in the 1940s. Restoration England was the perfect backdrop for a lush, romantic romp but does the book deliver smut galore?
S1 E3 Jack Kerouac, ‘The Dharma Bums’ (1959): Just One Orgy
Was Jack Kerouac a pilgrim or self-obsessed wanker? Featuring an indecent orgy in the name of religion, this book was censored in 1963.
S1 E2 Rona Jaffe, ‘The Best of Everything’: scandalous single girls
Apparently, describing three single girls navigating the NY dating scene was censorship-worthy literature in 1958.
A stalwart of my bookshelves, this book was rediscovered after it featured in ‘Mad Men’.
S1 E1 Brendan Behan, ‘Borstal Boy’: solitary comforts
What shenanigans did Brendan Behan get up to in prison and borstal between 1939 and 1941? He enjoyed baiting the Brits, warm cocoa, snuggly blankets and … other things.
In episode one, I’ll tell you about the rude bits in a book whose banning in Ireland and Australia provoked derision.