Spillane Censored: The Censor’s Library

Nicole Moore's 'The Censor's Library' (2012)

A huge book comprising Australia’s history of censorship, Nicole Moore’s The Censor’s Library, published in March of this year, catalogues the many famous and infamous books and more intriguingly, comics and pulps that were banned in Australia. Rather than presented chronologically the book pans the censorship days through subject matter, featuring a segment of thee ‘violent’ pulps that were deemed too dark for the youth of the country, including lesbian pulps such as Jan Stacy’s Twilight House. In her investigation, Moore recounts how she found 793 boxes of censored material from the 20s to the 80s in the National Archives that prompted the publication of this work. It makes for a great read, looking at the works that have long been kept from the public’s eyes for its supposedly ‘crude’ subject matter. Ironically, the only other book to have attempted this feat, Private Case, Public Scandal, which revealed the contents of the British Museum’s secret collection, was itself banned in Australia in 1966.

Mickey Spillane’s 'A Bloody Sunrise', one of the many pulp comics banned in Australia during rampant cases of censorship.

Among the books banned were Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Lolita, Catcher in the Rye, Ulysees, 1984, Naked Lunch and of course Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint. Great trash and pulp reads the likes of Ruth Lyons’s Hotel Wife, Donald Henderson Clarke’s The Housekeeper’s Daughter, Mickey Spillane’s A Bloody Sunrise and the first issue of Best Detective Cases suffered a similar fate. Great coloured illustrations reveal the many great pulps with the idiosyncratic sexy, ‘crude’ covers. Well worth the long read, and a must for any pulp comic fan or book lover.


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