Poster (167K in PDF format)

Hand List (104K in PDF format)

Cabinet 1: Introduction

Societies have always wrestled with censorship. Indeed the suppression or attempted suppression of material considered offensive, objectionable, or a threat to security (real or imagined) is as old as literature itself. And books, as transmitters of literature, have been excellent targets. For example, religious works such as the Bible and the Qur'an, polemics such as Machiavelli's "The Prince" or Karl Marx's "Das Kapital", socially contentious publications such as Emile Zola's "Nana" or Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind", and the so-called 'obscene', morally challenging books like James Joyce's "Ulysses" and D.H. Lawrence's "Lady Chatterley's Lover". In more recent times, publications that promote anarchy ("The Anarchist Cookbook") and 'whip-slash' violence ("Brother Stud"; "Hitch-hiking Pizza Boy") have featured more frequently.

Heresy, Sedition, Obscenity: The Book Challenged not only offers a selection of some of the most famous, and lesser known books that have been banned, censored, or challenged, but it also reveals that there has been a healthy industry throughout history in the banning of them. Individual censors, Church Fathers, and various governments have all made pronouncements on books deemed injurious to the State, or status quo. Banned books have been burned in town squares, removed from public sale, and taken off the shelves of libraries and classrooms. In some instances, the author or printer of the work has been either outlawed or condemned to death. Of course, censorship still exists, which negates the notion that societies in these modern times allow individuals the absolute freedom to read - whatever. Hopefully, this exhibition reminds the reader of the issues surrounding the banning of books, and is a catalyst for thought on the future, especially with the endless digital scenarios now available through the internet. As to the books themselves, a question is raised: 'What would my world be like if these works had never existed?'

Please be aware that the content of some titles on display may offend.

'Horror farce? Social prophecy?' No matter what the answer, the language used and sadistic violence depicted in Anthony Burgess's "A Clockwork Orange" has motivated debate since its first publication in 1962. The book was removed from schools in Utah, Colorado and Connecticut, and in Alabama, parental permission was required before students could take it out. In New Zealand, it was Stanley Kubrick's 1972 film of the book that caused controversy. It was passed by the censor, but given a R20 certificate. This is Brasch's Penguin edition of 1972.

Anthony Burgess
A Clockwork Orange
London: Penguin Books, 1972

In 1967, Ballantine Books published a special school edition of Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" that eliminated two minor incidents and words such as 'hell', 'damn' and 'abortion'. Ironically, the censorship of this book about censorship and expurgation was unknown to Bradbury. He eventually found out and demanded that the full text be reinstated. Some editions now have a 'coda' penned by Bradbury: 'I will not go gently onto a shelf, degutted, to become a non-book.' The hypodermic hound on display is by the artist Joseph Mugnaini.

Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451
New York: Limited Editions Club, 1982

The graphic description of the unsanitary conditions in the Chicago meatpacking industry and the brutal treatment of immigrant labourers came as a revelation to American readers when Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" first appeared in 1906. This was despite the censoring of the text to satisfy publisher and reader sensibilities. Nevertheless, the book caused such an outcry that President Roosevelt (who called it 'obnoxious') was forced to pass the first Pure Food and Drug Laws in the US. In 1988, the complete uncensored edition of 36 chapters was finally published. The description on the cover of this See Saw Press edition says it all.

Upton Sinclair
The Jungle
Tucson, Arizona: See Saw Press, 2003

In 1929, Norah James wrote her 'stream-of-consciousness' novel about two lovers who form a suicide pact. Deemed obscene because of expressions such as 'balls', 'bloody' and the longer 'For Christ's sake give me a drink', the British Home secretary Sir William Joyson-Hicks ('Jix') prompted a raid on the premises of Scholartis Press, the publishing house owned by the New Zealander Eric Partridge. Copies were seized and then destroyed after the final judgement was made that the novel suggested 'thoughts of the most impure character.' This is the clandestine French edition, published by Jack Kahane of Obelisk Press.

Norah C. James
, Sleeveless Errand
Paris: Henry Babou and Jack Kahane, 1929

Drug-addiction, sexual fantasy, and cannibalism re-occur in William Burroughs' "Naked Lunch", first published by Olympia Press in Paris in 1959. Using the Tariff Act (1930), US Customs consistently embargoed this work as allegedly obscene. Regarded by Judge Eugene Hudson as 'trash written by a mentally sick individual', Burroughs' novel has the distinction of being the last literary work to be declared obscene and brought to trial in America. In July 1966, the Massachusetts Supreme Court finally declared the book not obscene, adding a proviso that people could be prosecuted if they exploited its 'possible prurient appeal.' Grove Press, the original US publishers, recently produced this restored edition.

William S. Burroughs
Naked Lunch
New York: Grove Press, 2003

Although Hubert Selby's "Last Exit to Brooklyn" (1964) is set in Brooklyn in the late 40s, it was in England that the book caused a stir. In November 1967, an all-male jury (sparing women the embarrassment of reading the material) judged the book 'guilty of being obscene.' The British publisher, Calder and Boyars, appealed on the basis that the jury had left too much to 'commonsense' and not enough to law. They won, and Last Exit was free to appear in a complete and unexpurgated edition. It holds the distinction of being the last serious novel, poem or play prosecuted under the British Obscene Publications Act of 1959.

Hubert Selby, Jr.,
Last Exit to Brooklyn
New York: Grove Press, 1964

In 1933, John Sumner, secretary of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, laid a complaint of 'obscenity' against Viking Press for publishing Caldwell's "God's Little Acre", the story of Ty Ty Walden, a poor, illiterate Georgia farmer, and his family. In 1933, Judge Greenspan concluded that the book did not treat vice and lewdness as virtues and nor would it 'incite lustful desires in normal minds.' In 1949, in a later trial, Judge Bok decided that this 'frank and turbulent story' was not 'sexually impure and pornographic.' Bok's decision that the book did not contain 'dirt for dirt sake' had important implications for later obscenity trials.

Erskine Caldwell
God's Little Acre
Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 1995

In 1956, Allen Ginsberg's "Howl, and other Poems" was published by Lawrence Ferlinghetti from his City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco. Actually printed in England, it was the second printing that was seized by US Customs, who used the excuse: "You wouldn't want your children to come across it." At trial in 1957, Judge Horn admitted the poem contained 'unorthodox and controversial ideas' expressed in 'coarse and vulgar' language. However, the poem was of 'social importance' and thus judged not obscene. In his introduction to it, William Carlos Williams gives a warning to readers: 'Hold back the edges of your gowns, Ladies, we are going through hell.'

Allen Ginsberg
Howl, and Other Poems
San Francisco: City Lights Pocket Bookshop, 1956

Ever since J. D Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye" was published in 1951, it has attracted the attention of the censors. Indeed, during 1965 and 1975, it was the most frequently banned book in American schools, with the common complaint being of obscene language and the portrayal of inappropriate adolescent behaviour. Although challenged many times, the book remains on many student reading lists, and is constantly reprinted.

J. D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye
Harmondsworth: Penguin Books in association with Hamish Hamilton, 1958

The state of Kentucky (US) have not looked too kindly on William Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying", the story of a poor white Mississippi farm family and the death of Addie Bundren, which he wrote in 1929 in six weeks during night-shifts at a local power-station. Between 1986 and 1994, various school districts banned the book because of its offensiveness and profanity (questioning the existence of God, and using his name in vain). In almost all cases, the book was reinstated on school reading lists.

William Faulkner
As I Lay Dying
Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books in association with Chatto & Windus, 1965

Even before "A Farewell to Arms" was published in 1929, it was facing challenges from Ernest Hemingway's own editor, Maxwell Perkins, who deleted 'unsavory' words from the text. When serialized in Scribner's Magazine, offending words ('balls', 'whorehound') were replaced by dashes. In 1929, Hemingway's war novel and love story was banned in Italy because of the accurate account of the Italian retreat of Caporetto, and in 1933, it was burned by the Nazis in Germany, allegedly for its 'prurience'. It remains a powerfully realistic novel.

Ernest Hemingway
A Farewell to Arms
London: Arrow Books, 2004

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Cabinet 2: The Index

The "Index Librorum Prohibitorum" ('List of Prohibited Books') was established by the Congregation of the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church in 1559. The aim of the list was to prevent the reading of immoral books or works containing theological errors and so prevent the corruption of the faithful. The Index also contained some scientific titles. The 32nd edition, published in 1948, contained 4,000 titles censored for various reasons: heresy, moral deficiency, sexual explicitness, political incorrectness, and so on. Notable writers in the list include Montaigne (as detailed here), Rabelais, Defoe, Balzac, and Jean Paul Sartre. 'The loss of relevance of the Index in the 21st century' saw it abolished on 14 June 1966, by Pope Paul VI. This 1855 edition is from the Shoults Collection.

Index Librorum Prohibitorum
Mechelen, Belgium: H. Dessain, 1855

As early as the 1st century, Plutarch considered the comedies of Aristophanes, including his "Lysistrata", as obscene. In 1926, this bawdy play was translated by Jack Lindsay and produced in a large format edition published by Fanfrolico Press. The erotic nature of the text is captured by Norman Lindsay's illustrations. In 1954, a copy of this particular edition was seized by US Post Office officials. Their decision to impound it was reversed because it was 'not for general distribution.' This is no. 48 of 300 'for sale overseas'.

London: Fanfrolico Press, 1926

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Cabinet 3: Satyricon

The Catholic Church's Index was not simply a reactive work; authors were encouraged to defend their works and they could re-publish with elisions if they wished to avoid a ban. Manuscripts that passed inspection by official readers were printed with nihil obstat ('nothing forbids') or Imprimatur ('let it be printed') on the title page. To aid readers, an expurgated index was produced that contained a list of books from which passages marked as dangerous to faith or morals were to be removed before the books were read. Here Charles de Moulin's classic work on customary laws of France and Paris (1539) is under scrutiny.

Index Expurgatorius Librorum
Lyon: Ioannem Mareschallum, 1586

'Such a long time has passed since first I promised you the story of my adventures...'. So begins Petronius' "Satyricon", a fragmentary mix of Latin prose and poetry portraying the seedier side of Roman life. Petronius was the 'Arbiter of Taste' under the emperor Nero. Tacitus, in his Annals, offers a description of Petronius: 'He spent his days in sleep, his nights in attending to his official duties or in amusement, that by his dissolute life he had become as famous as other men by a life of energy, and that he was regarded as no ordinary profligate, but as an accomplished voluptuary.' While the 'novel' was never officially banned, it was Federico Fellini's lush cinematic interpretation in 1968 that caused much controversy. This 1575 French printing of Satyricon is from the Shoults Collection.

Lyon: I. Tornaesium, 1575

While earlier editions of "Satyricon" did not face banning or prosecution, it was Jack Lindsay's modern translation, published in a limited edition print run by Fanfrolico Press, that caused trouble. In 1934, the book was ordered to be destroyed by the police court of the City of Westminster. Norman Lindsay's illustration of "Pannychidis" (Panichidis – signifying 'night') evokes a more mature girl than that of the seven year-old in the text. Perhaps Lindsay's artistic license was driven by Quartilla's notion in the satire that Pannychidis was not too young to wed and endure all the 'opportunities' of marriage. This is copy no. 112 of only 650 printed.

Complete Works
London: Fanfrolico Press, 1927

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Cabinet 4: Ovid & Others

In 1497, Ovid's works, including "Ars Amatoria" ("The Art of Love"), a poem in three books about choosing, catching and keeping a loved one, were cast into the great bonfire in the Piazza della Signoria, Florence. The book-burning was instigated by Savonarola, an Italian Dominican priest who publically crusaded against 'immoral art'. In 1564, The Art of Love was added to the Catholic Index for 'treating of lascivious or obscene objects.' It was banned in America in 1926, and only freed up when the 1930 Tariff Act eased restrictions on foreign classics. This modern Limited Editions issue is illustrated by the British artist Eric Fraser.

Art of Love
New York: Limited Editions Club, 1971

The Church was the single most powerful institution in 16th Century Europe. With the invention of the printing press, faster communications, an increased literacy rate, and a loosening of the monopoly on the dissemination of knowledge, it was increasingly under attack. 'Keeping the Faith' was paramount; censorship was in the air. Bernard of Luxemburg, a Dominican theologian, was one who rigorously maintained the status quo. As an Inquisitor in the dioceses of Cologne, Mainz (the birthplace of printing) and Trier, he produced the perfect 'fear-mongering' book. His catalogue of heretics was immensely popular.

Bernard of Luxemburg
Catalogus Hereticorum
Cologne: Peter Quentell, 1526

On display in this 1607 edition of the expurgated Index is an alphabetical listing of authors and titles under scrutiny by the Censors. Notable authors include Geraldus Mercator, Polidore Vergil, and Xenophon. The scrupulous censor, ready with inked quill to blacken out the offending passages, would have been frustrated with this particular copy. There are 191 pages missing between pages 368 and 561.

Indicis Librorum Expurgandorum
Rome: Ex Typographia R. Cam. Apost., 1607

Polydore Vergil's "De Inventoribus Rerum" was first published in 1499. It was Vergil's account of the beginning of things, tracing the inventions and discoveries of civilization to their original ancestors. This encyclopaedia was an established scholarly reference book until the expanded version was published in 1521, which contained criticism of the morality of the Catholic clergy, the policies of the Pope, and passages that suggested the church's discovery of Purgatory stimulated a market for indulgences. It was condemned by the Sorbonne in 1551, placed on the Spanish Index of Forbidden Books in 1559, the Romish Index in 1564, and the Liège Index of 1569. The flyleaf of this 1586 edition contains a draft appeal for one John Doulter to be given a license to use players and games on several Sundays.

Polydore Vergil
De Rerum Inventoribus
Lyon: Ant. Gryphium, 1586

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Cabinet 5: Scriptures

Revealed by God to the Prophet Muhammad, The Koran, or Qur'an (recitation) is the sacred book of Islam, and is, with the Bible, the most widely read of sacred texts. Hostility and strict censorship towards it has existed since the Crusades. Church Fathers regarded Islam as heresy, Muslims as infidels, and the Muhammad as a 'renegade bishop, an imposter.' In Venice in 1530, an Arabic edition of the Koran was published and promptly banned. Latin editions were also prohibited, with a ban remaining in effect until 1790. Censorship has continued in modern times. In 1926, the Soviet Union restricted access to the Koran (along with the Bible and Talmud); it was banned in China during the Cultural Revolution; and in 1986, the military Government of Ethiopia ordered the book confiscated and destroyed. This is a manuscript version of the Koran is from the Shoults Collection.

The Koran

Like the Koran, the Bible has faced a long censorship history. For many years the Catholic Church discouraged translation of the official Latin Vulgate edition for fear that the text might be corrupted or misinterpreted. Like most Protestant reformers, William Tyndale felt strongly that the scriptures should be in the language of the people and read without interpretation by church authorities. He was the first person to translate the Bible into English from its original Hebrew and Greek, and the first to print it in English. His translation of the New Testament in 1524-26 was promptly banned and publicly burned by the Church. Printed in Cologne and Worms, 6000 copies were smuggled into England, some in bales of cloth. Those discovered owning them were punished. Tyndale paid the ultimate price for his work. In 1536, he was arrested, tried for heresy and strangled and burnt at the stake. This is a facsimile of the last revised New Testament edition of 1536.

The Newe Testament, 1536
Columbus, Ohio: Lazarus Ministry Press: Vintage Archives, 1999

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Cabinet 6: The Reformation

On 15 October 1517, Martin Luther posted his Ninety-five Theses on indulgences on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Circulating in both Latin and German throughout Europe, this document provoked a storm of controversy that was to lead to the Protestant Reformation. On 15 June 1520, a Papal Bull was issued which claimed Luther's theses were 'heretical, or scandalous, or false, or offensive to pious ears'. It was forbidden to print, distribute, read, possess or quote any of his books, tracts or sermons. It was a common practice in the 16th century to quote an author and then refute with cogent arguments. This 1526 printing of "Articuli CCCCC" by the noted German humanist Johannes Cochlaeus (1479-1552) quotes some of Luther's banned writings and includes his own refutations. Luther's works remained on the Catholic Index until 1930, when they were omitted from the list.

Johannes Cochlaeus
Articuli CCCCC
Cologne: P. Quentell, 1526

In 1616, the heliocentric system of Copernicus was denounced as dangerous to the Catholic faith. Six years earlier, in March 1610, Galileo published his 24 page pamphlet "Siderus Nuncius" (The Starry Messenger; March 1610) which described his astronomical observations of the moon and the planets. While not proving Copernicus was correct, Galileo certainly cast doubt on the Aristotelian geocentric model prevalent at the time. In 1632, he furthered the case for Copernicus's heliocentric theory by publishing "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, Ptolemaic and Copernican". The book was condemned by the Church and Galileo was charged with heresy and placed under house arrest for the rest of his life. Galileo's name remained on the Catholic Index until 1835, when his name was removed. However, he was not officially rehabilitated by the Church until 1992. This is a later edition of his Works, printed in 1718.

Galileo Galilei
Opere [Works]
Firenze [Florence]: G. Gaetano Tartini, 1718

The German astronomer Johannes Kepler was convinced of the truth of Copernicus' heliocentric theory – that the earth and the planets revolve around the sun. In "The New Astronomy" (1609) and "Harmonies of the World" (1619), Kepler stated his laws, which included that planets move in elliptical orbits. He also produced an Epitome (on display), a low-cost textbook of Copernican astronomy. Like his other works, this influential volume was banned. Only after 1824 did the Catholic Church finally accept 'the general opinion of modern astronomers' and grant formal permission for the printing in Rome of books reflecting the theories of Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler.

Johannes Kepler
Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae
Lentijs ad Danubium; Linz, Austria: J. Plancus, 1618-22

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Cabinet 7: The Italians

Dante's classic Divina Commedia was first printed in Foligno in 1472. Although Dante places corrupt popes in the eighth circle of Hell and railed invectives against Pope Boniface VIII, his Divine Comedy was not prohibited in Italy. It was however deemed offensive in Portugal and Spain. In 1581, the Portuguese authorities called in all copies for expurgation while the Spanish Index of 1612 eliminated three passages from the poem. Earlier, in 1497, Savonarola burned it, together with De Monarchia (Dante's treatise on papal versus secular authority, which was publically burned) in the 'bonfire of the vanities'. This edition contains commentaries by Alessandro Vellutello and Cristoforo Landino, with illustrations possibly executed by the engraver Giovanni Britto.

Dante Alighieri
Divina Commedia
Venice: Heirs of Francesco Rampazetto for Giovanni Battista Sessa, Melchior Sessa, and brothers, 1578

While in seclusion and escaping from an outbreak of the plague, a group of young men and women divert themselves by telling stories to each other. These tales form Boccaccio's Decameron, which was probably written about 1350. Although eight of the 100 tales are erotic, it was placed on the Roman Index of Forbidden Books in 1559 by order of Pope Paul IV, with objections centred around 'offensive sexual acts' in which clerics, monks, nuns and abbesses in the work engaged. However, its popularity was so great that an expurgated version was printed in 1573. Over time, it has offended numerous other agencies, including the parliament of France, the magistrates of England, the United States Post Office, the American Library Association, and the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. This modern edition is illustrated by the American artist Rockwell Kent.

Giovanni Boccaccio
The Decameron
New York: Garden City Publishers, 1949

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Cabinet 8: Literature

When the first two books of Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel were published in 1533, under the pseudonym of Alcofribas Nasier, they were promptly suppressed as obscene and sacrilegious by censors in the French Parliament. Not even support from his patron Cardinal Jean du Bellay or King François I prevented the entire five books from being placed on the Church Index. Rabelais' bawdy, scatological satire on mankind with its catch-cry 'Do As Thou Wilt' was translated into English by Sir Thomas Urquhart and Peter Motteux. With terms such as 'codpiece', 'bunghole', 'ballocks' and 'teats' used, it continued to be challenged by authorities. This 1725 French language edition was printed in Amsterdam.

François Rabelais
Gargantua et de son fils Pantagruel Vol.II
Amsterdam: H. Bordesius, 1725

In 1588, a revised edition of Books I and II, and Book III of Montaigne's "Essays" was published in 1588. By then the Papal censor Sisto Fabri (who did not read French) had suggested numerous textual changes, opposing Montaigne's overuse of the word 'fortune', his praise of heretical poets, the idea that one who prays should be free from evil impulses, and his critical comments on torture. Montaigne did nothing, maintaining what was printed was his opinion, which he did not feel was erroneous. Eighty-fours years after Montaigne's death, this bestseller in France faced the wrath of the Spanish Inquisition and the Vatican. It was placed on the "Index" in 1676 with the specification 'in whatever language they may be printed.' Here is his essay on 'Of crueltie'.

Michel de Montaigne
London: Printed by Melch. Bradwood for Edward Blount and William Barret, 1613

Under penalty of confiscation and death, no bookseller could sell or keep any work condemned by the Inquisition. There were frequent searches of bookshops, libraries and in-coming ships for any offensive literature. Cervantes's "Don Quixote" was an immediate bestseller on publication in 1605. In 1640, it was placed in the Spanish "Index for one sentence, which supposedly reflected Lutheran beliefs: 'Works of charity performed negligently have neither merit nor value.' A reprinted edition with the sentence removed was passed and sales continued. In 1981, General Pinochet of Chile banned the book because it contained a plea for individual freedom and an attack on authority. Here from Chapter I, Book 4, is the priest and his companion spying on a beautiful girl washing her feet.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
The Life and Exploits of the Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha. 2nd ed.
London: Printed for J. and R. Tonson and S. Draper, and R. Dodsley, 1749

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Cabinet 9: Thomas & Others

In 1538, a royal proclamation was issued in England by which no one was allowed to print any book unless licensed by a member of the Privy Council or from a person appointed by the King. This decree established the first regular censorship in England. William Thomas's "Historie of Italie" gave great offense to Queen Mary because of its criticism of the Italian clergy. One sentence read: 'By report, Rome is not without 40,000 harlots, maintained for the most part by the clergy and their followers.' The book was burned by the common hangman, and in May 1554 the author was hanged and quartered at Tyburn. This is the first edition.

William Thomas
The Historie of Italie
London: Thomas Berthelet, 1549

Henry Neville's "The Isle of Pines", an account of George Pine and four women on an island off the coast of Madagascar, was first published in England in 1668. It was however in colonial America that this slim volume faced censorship. In 1711, the colony of Massachusetts passed a statute entitled 'An Act against Intemperance, Immorality, and Profaneness' that specified no materials considered obscene would be tolerated. It was aimed at anyone guilty of 'composing, writing, printing or publishing any filthy, obscene, or profane song, pamphlet, libel or mock sermon.' "The Isle of Pines" was banned. This is a modern Australian private press edition.

Henry Neville
The Isle of Pines
Katoomba, N.S.W.: Wayzgoose, 1991

'It has been presented by the Grand-Jury, and condemn'd by thousands who never saw a word of it.' So wrote Bernard Mandeville in the preface to this 3rd edition of his satire "The Fable of the Bees" (1724). Underlying the text is Mandeville's message that vice (pride, self-interest, greed), rather than virtue, was the foundation of the emerging capitalist society. With phrases such as 'The moment Evil ceases, the Society must be spoiled', it is no wonder that Mandeville was termed the 'Anti-Christ', and the book was classified 'atheistical' with 'many blasphemous passages'. In France it was burned by the common hangman, and this 'wickedest cleverest book in the English language' (according to one critic) remained on the Church "Index" until the last edition of 1966.

Bernard Mandeville
The Fable of the Bees, or, Private Vices, Publick Benefits. 3rd ed.
London: Printed for J. Tonson, 1724

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Cabinet 10: Charron & Milton & Mercier

Pierre Charron (1541-1603), the French philosopher, lawyer and preacher, crafted his best known "De la Sagesse" ("Of Wisdom") in 1601. He saw his work on scepticism as a companion volume to his good friend Montaigne's "Essays". One particular ethical standpoint laid the grounds for controversy: the man of wisdom (the skeptic) is guided not only by the commands of God but also by the dictates of nature. Although supported by Henry IV, Charron was severely criticised as a 'brutual atheist' by the Jesuit François Garasse (1585-1631). Just before a second edition was completed, Charron died. Some critics regarded this as judgement for his impiety. "Of Wisdom" was placed on the Church "Index" in 1605.

Pierre Charron
Of Wisdom
London: Printed for Nathaniel Ranew and Jonathan Robinson, 1670

John Milton's "Areopagitica", his attack on licensing, had no real effect on governmental policy or on his contemporaries when it first appeared (without benefit of authorization or registration) on 23 November 1644. There was a minor ruffle. In 1658, Oliver Cromwell condemned it as did the 'Little Parliament'. These days Milton's treatise stands as a seminal work against censorship and for personal liberties. All readers are familiar with the often quoted: 'Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were in the eye.' This is a Doves Press edition of 1907.

John Milton
Hammersmith (England): Doves Press, 1907

Mercier's "L'an 2440" was originally published in 1771 (it went through twenty-five editions after its first appearance), and is one of the better known Utopian novels. After a 'Rip Van Winkle' sleep of 700 years, the unnamed adventurer awakes to find France is an enlightened country, but still a monarchy. It is a premise ripe for satire. Indeed, Mercier's futuristic Paris has a new justice system, efficient hospitals, and there are no monks, priests, prostitutes, standing armies, slavery, taxes, tea or tobacco. Potentially seditious, the Church authorities put the book on the "Index" in 1773, and in 1778, it was judged heretical in Spain, banned and reputedly burned by the King himself.

Louis-Sebastien Mercier
L'An Deux Mille Quatre Cent Quarante. Vol.II
Paris: Lepetit Jeune et Gerard, 1802

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Cabinet 11: Philosophy

The Italian philosopher Vico (or Vigo) described Samuel von Pufendorf (1632-1694) as one of the 'three princes' (alongside Grotius and Selden) of the natural law of nations. Through his classic "On the Law of Nature and Nations" (1672), Pufendorf posited that every individual has a right to equality and freedom on the basis of human dignity. His writings also evoked a separation of the natural world of human affairs from the spiritual realm of theology. A year later, Pufendorf complied his popular "The Whole Duty of Man According to the Law of Nature" (1673), excerpted from the above title. In 1714, "Law of Nature" was classified as an irreligious work and added to the "Index", while in 1747, it was proscribed by the Spanish Inquisition.

Samuel Pufendorf
The Whole Duty of Man According to the Law of Nature. 3rd ed.
London: Printed by Benj. Motte, for Charles Harper, 1705

George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne, was a devout Christian, who in "Alciphron", his most popular and accessible work, railed against the vices of atheism and freethinkers in England and Ireland. To Berkeley, such freedoms of thought were the prime cause of England's social maladies. Of course, behind it all sat his genuine fear of the revival of Roman Catholicism in England; "Alciphron" is riddled with terms 'popery' and 'papists'. While a popular work among English Protestants, it was condemned by Rome, and placed on the "Index" in 1742. It remained on the last "Index", compiled in 1948 and in print until 1966

George Berkeley
Alciphron : or, The Minute Philosopher
Dublin: Printer for G. Risk, G. Ewing, and W. Smith, 1732

David Hume's "Philosophical Essays", first published in 1748 and forming the basis of his better known "An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding", contains the essay 'On Miracles'. Hume knew that describing the concept of miracles as a violation of the law of nature would be considered antireligious. Indeed, his sceptical outlook and belief that religion was an impediment to morality offended many. The reception was so hostile to his work that he made the decision not to publish his "Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion". It appeared in 1779, three years after his death. In 1827, all of Hume's philosophical works, including his History of England were placed on the "Index of Forbidden Books".

David Hume
Essays Concerning Human Understanding. 2nd ed.
London: Printed for M. Cooper, 1751

Voltaire, the chief standard-bearer of the Enlightenment, wrote in his :Philosophical Dictionary": theological religion is 'the source of all imaginable follies and discords; it is the mother of fanaticism and civil discord; it is the enemy of mankind.' It was in this work, Voltaire's major anti-Christian attack, that the phrase 'Dare to Think for Yourself' first occurred. First published in 1764, it was almost immediately condemned and burned in France, Geneva, the Netherlands, and Rome. One critic called it 'a contagious poison'. Thirty-seven other works by Voltaire, including his "Letters Concerning the English Nation" (1733) were also banned.

A Philosophical Dictionary. 2nd ed.
London: Printed for J. and H.L. Hunt, 1824

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Cabinet 12: Gibbon & Paine

In his magisterial bestseller, Edward Gibbon offered 'a candid but rational inquiry into the progress and establishment of Christianity.''For miracles he used the term superstition, he attacked bishops, who abused their power, and criticised Roman emperors, who employed violence and terror against the religious opinions of their subjects. In 1783, the Italian edition was placed on the Index (remaining there until 1966) for not coinciding with official church history.

Edward Gibbon
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Vol.IV
London: Printed for W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1776-1788

Even in the world of exhibitions there is serendipity. As preparation began for this exhibition, a catalogue titled 'Censorship' arrived from the reputable firm of Bernard Quaritch, London. Part of the introduction to the catalogue reads: 'Paradoxically, censorship can bolster popular appeal, with indexes of forbidden literature often reading like catalogues of best-sellers.' Please bear this in mind when you are perusing this exhibition.

Bernard Quaritch
Catalogue 1386: Censorship
London: Quaritch, 2009

In 1791, Charles James Fox introduced a bill to the House of Commons that allowed juries to decide what was and was not libellous. Although thrown out, this controversy set the scene for the arrival of Thomas Paine's "The Rights of Man" (1791-1792). In his treatise, Paine rejected monarchy, maintaining that 'all hereditary government is in its nature tyranny.' The first printers stopped work on it because they felt the contents exhibited a 'dangerous tendency'. The replacement printer, Jeremiah Jordan, was charged with sedition; Paine (forced to flee to France) was convicted in absentia. Paine was hanged and burned in effigy throughout England. At the trial in December 1792, he was found guilty of libel and high treason. He was forbidden, on pain of death, to set foot in England again.

Thomas Paine
The Rights of Man
London: Printed for the Booksellers, 1792

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Cabinet 13: Philosophy

Baruch (Benedict) Spinoza (1632-1677) found biblical doctrine incompatible with natural science and logic. He was uncomfortable with the notion of miracles; he maintained that the Bible was written by humans; and he questioned whether the Jews were God's chosen people. At the age of 24, he was charged with heretical thinking and excommunicated from the Jewish community in Amsterdam. Eking out a living as a lens grinder, he continued writing. After his death in 1677, his friends published his "Opera posthuma", which included his famous "Ethica". In that same year, the States of Holland declared "Opera Posthuma" profane, atheistic and blasphemous, and forbade its printing or sale on pain of 'high displeasure'. It was added to the Index in 1679. His 'Of Miracles' is on display.

Baruch (Benedict) Spinoza
, Opera. Vol. I.
Jena: Bibliopolio Academico, 1802-1803

When published, John Stuart Mill's Principles of Political Economy (1848) was an enormous success, demanding seven editions in his lifetime. Nevertheless, the Catholic Church took umbrage, opposing his secular philosophy, his utilitarianism, his empirical stance, and his defence of the rights of the individual over institutions of church and state. As Mill reiterated later in On Liberty: 'Whatever crushes individuality is despotism.' In 1856, Principles was placed on the Index, and in 1864, Pope Pius IX expanded on that decision, when the assembled bishops at the First Vatican Council issued a general rejection of modernism and liberalism. Mill's work was included in that judgement.

John Stuart Mill
Principles of Political Economy. Vol. I.
London, J. W. Parker, 1848

The first two volumes of Diderot's monumental Encyclopédie appeared in 1752. Keywords in this large work (eventually 28 volumes) were democratic, reason (over faith) and modern. It was promptly condemned by the French authorities, because of its tendency to 'destroy the royal authority, ...to raise the foundations of error, of corruptions of morals, of irreligion, and of unbelief.' Although on the Index by 1804, it faced its own internal censorship. Unbeknown to the philosopher, his printer (Le Breton) had deleted and altered passages because he thought Diderot's liberal opinions would affect his business. For some 200 years, this expurgated version was the only one available to readers. On display is Jean Martin de Prades's entry on 'Certitude'. It too was classified as heretical.

D. Diderot
Encyclopédie; ou, Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers, par Une Société de Gens de Lettres. Vol. VI.
Lausanne [and] Berne: Sociétés Typographiques, 1781

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Cabinet 14: Literature

'Everywhere hypocrisy, or at least charlatanism, even among the virtuous, even among the greatest', so said Julien Sorel in Stendhal's The Red and the Black, which was first published in France in 1831. Stendhal's portrayal of God as a 'petty despot' and his anti-clericalism led to the Catholic Church censoring his writings. The Vatican placed this work and all of Stendhal's 'love stories' on the Index in 1864, a decision that was reconfirmed by Pope Leo XIII in 1897. Tzar Nicholas banned it in Russia in 1850, and in Spain, under Franco's regime, the novel was purged from libraries. This Folio Society edition is illustrated by Frank Martin.

Scarlet and Black
London: Folio Society, 1965

Balzac's Contes Drolatiques (1832) depicts the bawdy life and manners of 16th century France in the style of Boccaccio and Rabelais. Aware of prudish readers, Balzac's editor asked him: 'Try to do something chaste if you can, if only to show them how versatile you are.' The tales were promptly placed on the Index, purged from libraries in Russia (1870), the US (1885), Canada (1914), Ireland and Spain (1950). One American critic declared that Droll Tales should be excluded from libraries as 'arsenic and laudanum and rum should be refused to children.' This edition is translated by J. L. May, and illustrated by Jean de Bosschère.

Honoré de Balzac
Ten Droll Tales
London: John Lane, The Bodley Head Ltd., 1926

Dumas's novel contains a sympathetic portrayal of a French courtesan, Marguerite Gautier, who dies young of consumption. In pushing through his bill which later became the Obscene Publications Act (1857), Lord Campbell, the lord chief justice in England, identified Dumas's Camille as an example of literature that was 'polluting'. In 1863, all of Dumas's works were placed on the Vatican's list of forbidden books and he was one of 11 authors condemned by the Catholic Church for emphasizing impure love. This is a first edition of La Dame aux Camélias.

Alexandre Dumas fils
La Dame aux Camélias
Paris: D. Giraud et J. Dagneau, 1852

First published privately in 1896, Louÿs's novel Aphrodite recounts the adventures of a courtesan in the decadent society that preceded the reign of Cleopatra, circa 57 B.C. Although containing no explicit sexual content, the storyline does portray lesbian relationships and advocates unrestricted sensuality. Aphrodite was first translated into English in 1925 and four years later, US Customs banned it, pronouncing it lewd, lascivious, corrupting and obscene. Further importations were seized, even though the novel was freely advertised in the New York Times Book Review for 49 cents. As late as 1954, it was condemned by the US-based National Organization for Decent Literature.

Pierre Louÿs
Paris: Albin Michel, 1961

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Cabinet 15: USA

Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) was a success on publication, selling some 3 million copies before the Civil War. Of course the topic of slavery and the wider issue of equality were controversial. The book was banned in the South, and fostered printed counterclaims such as Aunt Phillis's Cabin; or, Southern Life as It is. It was also banned in Russia, regarded by authorities under Nicholas I as a potential threat to the orthodox Church and the authority of the monarchy. In 1984, in an Illinois school, it was classified as 'racist' because of the use of the word 'nigger' and removed from the reading list. This is the first English edition.

Harriet Beecher Stowe
Uncle Tom's Cabin
London: J. Cassell, 1852

By concocting a fireside meeting between Queen Elizabeth I, Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and Sir Walter Raleigh, Mark Twain wanted to disclose 'the picturesqueness of parlor conversation' of the Elizabethan age. The imagined conversation centres round flatulence, with the group trying to identify the culprit, who fails to admit the indiscretion. 1601 is Mark Twain's underground classic, and with only four copies printed of the first edition, it has been pirated and published in expensive deluxe editions. The limited nature of this publication has kept it out of sight of official book banners. Written just after he completed Tom Sawyer, Twain joked: 'If there is a decent word in it, it is because I overlooked it.'

Mark Twain
[Date, 1601] Conversation as it was by the Social Fireside in the Time of the Tudors.
New York: Lyle Stuart, 1938

Even before publication in September 1919, James Branch Cabell realised the sexually-charged double entendres in his novel Jurgen would offend some readers. Despite the changes he made, the publisher (Robert McBride) was raided and copies seized. It remained out of circulation for two years until the courts delivered an acquittal on the obscenity charge. This was later reversed. The case concerning Cabell's Jurgen was an important one. He was the first prominent American author to have his works tested in court on charges of obscenity. The notoriety attached to the novel made it a best-seller. This edition contains illustrations by the Dunedin-born artist John Buckland Wright.

James Branch Cabell
Jurgen : Comedy of Justice
London: Golden Cockerel Press, 1949

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Cabinet 16: Marx & Others

Jonathon Green notes in The Encyclopedia of Censorship, 'It is impossible to itemize every country in which Marxist works are prohibited.' Marx's Bible of communism was placed on the Catholic Index soon after it was published in 1867. In Russia, in 1894, it was forbidden to be reprinted. In China, in 1929, it was prohibited, and under the Nazi regime it was burned as being contrary to the spirit of German nationalism. In Oklahoma City, in 1940, it was burned (along with other books), and between 1950 and 1953, it was barred from the shelves of the Boston Public Library. In 1953, only expurgated copies of Das Kapital were allowed in East Germany, while in the 1960s, Soviet Union authorities altered the work to more fully support the positions held by the Communist Party.

Karl Marx
Capital : A Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production. Vol. I.
Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House; London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1958

Published as "Im Westen Nichts Neues (trans: Nothing new in the West)> in 1928, Remarque's hard-hitting anti-war novel was hugely successful in Europe. However, it generated hostility from the National Socialists in Germany, who saw it as slanderous to their ideals of home and fatherland. In 1930, it was banned, and in 1933, it was consigned to the flames in a public bonfire. Similar banning occurred in Austria, Czechoslovakia and Italy. When translated into English, some words and sentences were seen as 'too robust' for American readers. In 1929, it was banned in Boston on grounds of obscenity, and unexpurgated copies were seized in Chicago. It remains one of the 'most often' censored books (Green).

Erich Maria Remarque
All Quiet on the Western Front
London: Folio Society, 1966

Reactions were harsh from Jewish communities when in 1933, Houghton Mifflin decided to publish the English version of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, a work that has been termed 'one percent autobiography, ninety percent dogma, and one hundred percent propaganda.' The publishers were asked 'to print the text in red, as symbolic of the blood that has dripped from the Nazi bludgeons in the Third Reich...'. In that year, the book was also banned in Czechoslovakia and Poland. It remains banned for sale in Germany. One current version is available in the US today, and the translator, Ralph Manheim, labels Hitler 'a half-educated writer, without clear ideas, who generally feels that to say a thing only once is rather slight.' This is an early British 'Paternoster Library' edition.

Adolf Hitler
My Struggle
London: Paternoster Library, 1937

In their 1974 book, Marchetti and Marks set the scene from the very first sentence: 'There exists in our nation today a powerful and dangerous secret cult – the cult of intelligence.' The right to publish the material was challenged by CIA officials in April 1972 and which continued to mid-1975. Marchetti's right to free speech was balanced against so-called classified and 'dangerous' information. The original number of deletions (DELETED) required by the CIA were 339 passages; all but 168 were reinstated (boldface type). Clear evidence of censorship is on display.

Victor Marchetti and John D. Marks
The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence
London: Cape, 1974

On ripping off the plain brown wrappers that were used to ship "My Life and Loves" to England, the reader would see Frank Harris's declaration in the foreword: 'I intend to tell what life has taught me, and, if I begin at the A. B. C. of love, it is because I was brought up in Britain and the United States; I shall not stop there.' My Life and Loves was privately printed in Paris in 1925 and as the imprint details reveal, was not allowed to be imported into England or the U.S.A. Copies did make it to England where they were destroyed; judged indecent. John Sumner, zealous member of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, called it the 'most obscene book published in the present century.'

Frank Harris
My Life and Loves
Paris: The Obelisk Press Books, 1949

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Cabinet 17: The Moderns

In 1921, the anti-Vice zealot John Sumner took a chapter of James Joyce's "Ulysses" (the action of which takes place in Dublin on one day, 16 June 1904) to trial in New York and won. A year later, the US Post Office burned 500 copies that had been imported. In 1932, US Customs seized a copy and declared it obscene under the Tariff Law (1930). Importantly for future cases, Joyce's 'dirtiest language' was examined in its entirety and not out of context as had been the case with Flaubert's Madame Bovary. At the end of the trial, Judge Woolsey rejected the claim of obscenity, claiming that the book was not pornographic. Joyce's classic still has a habit of disappearing off shelves in most libraries.

James Joyce
Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1922

D. H. Lawrence was already in 'hot water' with English postal authorities, when he sent through his manuscript of Pansies to his agent Curtis Brown. The package never arrived. It was intercepted by police, who were diligently hunting for copies of the Orioli edition of his Lady Chatterley's Lover, another banned book. The contents disturbed the inspector, and 'Jix' (Home Secretary Sir William Joyson-Hicks) agreed, claiming the 228 poems contained 'grossly indecent matter'. This is the first complete edition. A sanitized version appeared in 1931, with 14 poems, including 'Ego-Bound Women' and 'The Little Wowser', removed.

D. H. Lawrence
Pansies : Poems
: Martin Secker, 1929

'Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.' So begins the first line of Nabokov's novel about poet and pervert Humbert and his obsession with nymphets, including Lolita. It was banned in Britain, France, Argentina, New Zealand (1960) and South Africa. In asking to defend the French ban, Nabokov refused, stating: 'My moral defense of the book is the book itself.' Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer – his 'gob of spit at the world' – was published in France in 1934. Because of its sexual content, it was banned in the US for twenty-seven years. Only when Grove Press published it in 1961 was it cleared for general distribution. Banned in South Africa, burned in Britain, and prohibited in most Muslim nations, Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses" is perhaps the most famous work to be banned in modern times. It earned him the Whitbread Literary Prize of 1988, and because it was regarded as blasphemous, a sentence of death under the late Ayatollah Khomeini. Three modern paperback editions of these titles are on display.

Vladimir Nabokov
London: Penguin, 2000


Henry Miller
Tropic of Cancer
London: Flamingo; Harper Perennial, 2005


Salman Rushdie
The Satanic Verses
London: Vintage Books, 2006

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Cabinet 18: New Zealand

With legislation notoriously difficult and with increasing pressure to apply consistency to rulings on what was indecent or obscene, the Indecent Publications Tribunal (later the Office of Film and Literature Classification) was established in New Zealand in 1963. Rulings were often made on imported publications such as Nabokov's "Lolita" (1960) or William Burroughs's "Dead Fingers Talk" (1963). These days, 'home-grown' publications (and more increasingly films) have come under scrutiny. Culled from the Office of Film and Literature Classification, this list gives a snapshot of what books were banned, restricted or not in New Zealand from the years 1966 to 1968, and 1996 to 1997.

D.H. Lawrence knew that "Lady Chatterley's Lover" (1928) would offend British readers, so to avoid the censors, he had it first published in Italy. Indeed, even Lawrence's typist refused to work with the text. It was banned in the US, Great Britain, Ireland and Poland, and pirated editions flourished. Grove Press printed the first unexpurgated edition in 1959. In 1960, when Penguin Books (UK) went to trial over their paperback version, jurors were asked: 'Is it a book that you would even wish your wife or your servants to read?' (One peer replied to this: 'I would not object to my wife reading it, but I don't know about my gamekeeper.') After three days of deliberation, Penguin Books was cleared. In 1965, Lady Chatterley's fate was decided in New Zealand. After much discussion (clouded by the availability of a cheap paperback version over a more expensive hard-back copy), it was classified as 'not indecent'.

D. H. Lawrence
Lady Chatterley's Lover, including My Skirmish with Jolly Roger
Paris: Privately printed, 1930

'Indecent' was defined under the 1963 Indecent Publications Act as including the describing, depicting, expressing or otherwise dealing with matters of sex, horror, crime, cruelty or violence in a manner that is injurious to the public good. To authorities, the public good was the dominant consideration. Although some of the language was 'shocking', and the accounts of homosexuality were presented in much detail, James Baldwin's "Another Country" was judged not indecent by the New Zealand Tribunal when submitted for examination in 1964. Indeed, after scrutiny, it was said to be 'a serious, powerful and effective portrayal of life in the negro community of New York.' This is a Book Club edition of 1963.

James Baldwin
Another Country
London: Michael Joseph, 1965

Mary McCarthy's "The Group" (1964) consists of eight female undergraduate friends: Kay, Pokey, Lakey, Priss, Dottie, Libby, Polly and Helena. In 1964, the novel was labelled obscene and indecent in Ireland because of the characters' sexuality, the suggestions of homosexuality, and promiscuity. In that same year, New Zealand Customs placed the novel on its 'Restricted or Prohibited' List, which if imported, should be detained and copies referred for decision. However, unbeknown to Customs, McCarthy's satirical novel was freely available in stores. The ruling was subsequently reversed.

Mary McCarthy
The Group
London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1964

These three paperback editions by Christine Leov Lealand were published by the New Zealand Penguin branch in Auckland. Geoff Walker, Manager of Penguin (NZ), initiated the publication of these 'erotic fantasies', with the inkling that they would sell well. He was right. Quintessence, the first title, has sold over 35,000 copies, and mainly to the Australian market. The classification of 'R18' has to be prominently displayed, along with the customary shrink-wrap.

Christine Leov Lealand
Quintessence, Avocado and Astride
Auckland: Penguin, 1999; Auckland: Penguin, 2000; Auckland: Penguin, 2001

In 1970, Patricia Bartlett (1928-2000) founded the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards (NZ) and campaigned vigorously for theatre censorship, the prohibition of adolescent orientated sex education books (e.g. "Down Under the Plum Trees" (1972), and the banning of films such as Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange"). Bartlett and the Society (at its peak it had some 22,000 members) made 33 submissions to Parliament on various topics such as censorship laws, pornography and homosexuality. Publisher Alister Taylor, who had his own dealings with Bartlett over the Little Red School Book, published this satiric 'PB cook book'.

The First, Last and Complete Patricia Bartlett Cookbook and Household Physician
Wellington: A. Taylor, 1972

Instruct watch for new novel entitled "Butchers Shop" by Jean Devanny Wellington lady Publishers Duckworth, London, alleged depiction station life New Zealand disgusting indecent communistic' – Bert (London). So read the telegram received from London, 1 March 1926, addressed to Frank David Thomson, the Prime Minister's secretary. Devanny's novel, which she called 'a terribly confused and foolish book' affronted national sensibilities, and the Board of Censorship considered it 'a bad book all round – sordid, unwholesome and unclean. It makes evil to be good.' It was banned and gave Jean Devanny the distinction of being the first New Zealand born writer to receive such treatment. This is a later printing.

Jean Devanny
The Butcher Shop
Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1981

In 1965, the New Zealand import firm of E. J. Hyams and Son ordered in the expurgated edition of Harold Robbins's "The Carpetbaggers". When the cheaper unexpurgated 1964 Four Square New English Library paperback edition arrived, they decided to submit it to the Tribunal for judgement. This 'Most Famous Novel of the Twentieth Century', according to the publisher's puff, was described by the Tribunal as 'a long story, prolix to the point of tediousness'. The accounts of sexual behaviour were judged as not injurious to the public good. It was classified as 'not indecent'. This is an earlier paperback issue of 1963.

Harold Robbins
The Carpetbaggers
London: New English Library, 1963

Publisher HarperCollins have recently started the 'Harper Perennial Forbidden Classics' series. Apart from John Cleland's "Fanny Hill" (published in two instalments in November 1748 and February of 1749) and the Marquis de Sade's "Justine" (written in two weeks in 1787 while imprisoned in the Bastille), others in the series include: Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's "Venus in Furs", "The Pearl", Walter's "My Secret Life", "The Way of a Man with a Maid", Stanislas de Rhodes's "The Autobiography of a Flea", "Sadopaideia", 'Captain Charles Devereaux's "Venus in India", and Emmanuelle Arsan's "Emmanuelle". Both "Fanny Hill" and "Justine" are now freely available in New Zealand.

Marquis de Sade
London: Harper Perennial, 2009


John Cleland
Fanny Hill
London: Harper Perennial, 2009

This 'serious, clever and shatteringly effective' novel by Ellis was submitted to the Indecent Publications Tribunal in 1991 and given an R18 rating, with the additional clause: 'Must be labelled displaying with prominence the age restriction.' Australian officials also made the same ruling. Originally Ellis's novel was to be published by Simon and Schuster; they withdrew because of its graphic content. This copy remains shrink-wrapped - Category One.

Bret Easton Ellis
American Psycho
London: Picador, 2004

The Guardian called William Burrough's "Dead Fingers Talk" a 'Build-it-yourself obscenity kit.' First published in 1963, it is a compilation of his earlier works: "Naked Lunch, The Soft Machine and The Ticket that Exploded". In December 1964, the Indecent Tribunal considered an application by the Director of the New Zealand National Library service on whether Dead Fingers Talk was indecent. After wading through Burroughs's 'impenetrable' literary style, judgement was made on this 'linguistic porridge' as not indecent. The cigarette burns on the fore-edge of this book resemble blackened fingers.

William Burroughs
Dead Fingers Talk
London: Star Book, 1977

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Reproduction Rights


Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange. London: Penguin Books, 1972. Brasch PR6052.U638 C5 1972

J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books in association with Hamish Hamilton, 1958. Brasch PS3537.A426 C3 1958

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books in association with Chatto & Windus, 1965. Brasch PS3511.A86 A8 1963

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita. London: Penguin, 2000. With kind thanks from UBS (Otago) Ltd

Christine Leov Lealand, Quintessence. Auckland: Penguin, 1999. Kind thanks to Penguin (NZ)

___, Avocado. Auckland: Penguin, 2000. Kind thanks to Penguin (NZ)

___, Astride. Auckland: Penguin, 2001. Kind thanks to Penguin (NZ)

Limited Editions

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451. New York: Limited Editions Club, 1982. Special Collections PS3503.R167 F3 1982

Ovid, Art of Love. New York: Limited Editions Club, 1971. Special Collections PA 6522 A8 1971

Upton Sinclair, The Jungle. Tucson, Arizona: See Saw Press, 2003. Kind thanks to UBS (Otago) Ltd

William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch. New York: Grove Press, 2003. Special Collections PS3552.U75 N3 2003

Hubert Selby, Jr., Last Exit to Brooklyn. New York: Grove Press, 1964. Central PS3569.E547 L37 1964

Erskine Caldwell, God’s Little Acre. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 1995. Kind thanks to UBS (Otago)

Allen Ginsberg, Howl, and Other Poems. San Francisco: City Lights Pocket Bookshop, 1956. Brasch PS3513.I74 H6

Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms. London: Arrow Books, 2004. Kind thanks to UBS (Otago) Ltd

Auckland University Press

Jean Devanny, The Butcher Shop. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1981. Kind thanks to Auckland University Press

Vintage Archives

The Newe Testament, 1536. Columbus, Ohio: Lazarus Ministry Press: Vintage Archives, 1999 (facsimile). Special Collections BS140 1999


Bernard Quaritch, Catalogue 1386: Censorship. London: Quaritch, 2009. Special Collections Catalogue Collection


Stendhal, Scarlet and Black. London: Folio Society, 1965. Special Collections PQ2435.R72 A27 1965

Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front. London: Folio Society, 1966. Central PT2635.E68 I6 A28 1966

Jonathan Cape

Victor Marchetti and John D. Marks, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence. London: Cape, 1974. Central JK468.I6 M965


Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer. London: Flamingo; Harper Perennial, 2005. Private Collection

Marquis de Sade, Justine. London: Harper Perennial, 2009. Kind thanks to UBS (Otago) Ltd

John Cleland, Fanny Hill. London: Harper Perennial, 2009. Kind thanks to UBS (Otago) Ltd


Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses. London: Vintage Books, 2006. With kind thanks from UBS (Otago) Ltd


Mary McCarthy, The Group. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1964. Central PS 3525 A1435 G7


Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho. London: Picador, 2004. Kind thanks to UBS (Otago) Ltd


William Burroughs, Dead Fingers Talk. London: Star Book, 1977. Private Collection

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