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The Oxford History of the Irish Book, Volume VThe Irish Book in English, 1891-2000$

Clare Hutton

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199249114

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199249114.001.0001

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(p.644) Appendix A Irish Books Banned under the Censorship of Publications Acts, 1929–67

(p.644) Appendix A Irish Books Banned under the Censorship of Publications Acts, 1929–67

The Oxford History of the Irish Book, Volume V
Oxford University Press

The list below details the censorship of books by Irish writers title-by-title from the first, Liam O’Flaherty’s House of Gold in 1930, to Lee Dunne’s The Cabfather in 1976, which, as far as can be ascertained, was the last Irish book banned by the Board. It also indicates where a prohibition was revoked by the Appeals Board after 1946. The source for this section is the Board’s own ‘Register of Prohibited Publications (Books)’, held at the Office of Censorship of Publications, 13 Lower Hatch Street, Dublin 2, which lists the approximately 10,000 books banned. Lists of prohibitions, published annually since the onset of censorship, are available in the official state gazette, Iris Oifigúil. Because of the contested definition of ‘Irishness’, in relation to books as much else, as well as the possibility that some titles or authors may have been missed due to oversight or ignorance, this list is not definitive. (It is possible, for example, that pornographic titles or sex information books by authors not recognized by this writer as being Irish might have been banned after 1976.) However, it does feature the vast majority of banned books by Irish-born authors and those generally regarded as Irish, through parentage, long-term residence, and/or the subject matter of their work. Bans are listed only once: the list does not include re-bannings of new editions under the original or new titles.

A striking feature of the list is the fact that all but two of the banned books—Frank O’Connor’s translation of Merriman’s Midnight Court and Norah Hoult’s Selected Stories, both banned in 1946—were published outside of Ireland, and even in this instance, Maurice Fridberg published them both jointly in Dublin and London. As can be seen, John Brophy was by far the most banned Irish writer, with fourteen titles prohibited, followed by Norah Hoult (ten), who was the hardest-hit Irish resident writer, Rearden Conner (eight), Vivian Connell and Joyce Cary (seven each), Francis Stuart and James Hanley (six each), and Frank O’Connor, Liam O’Flaherty, and Edna O’Brien (five each). All bans not revoked by the Appeal Board after 1946 were automatically released under the twelve-year rule (p.645) between 1967 and 1988, with the exception of Shaw Desmond’s Adam and Eve, unbanned in 1999.


Liam O’Flaherty, The House of Gold (London: Jonathan Cape, 1929)


Frank Harris, Bernard Shaw: An Unauthorised Biography (London: Victor Gollancz, 1931)

James Hanley, Boy (London: Boriswood, 1931)


Liam O’Flaherty, The Puritan (London: Jonathan Cape, 1931)

Prohibition revoked, 1947

Seán O’Faoláin, Midsummer Night Madness and other stories (London: Jonathan Cape, 1932)

Austin Clarke, The Bright Temptation: A Romance (London: Allen & Unwin, 1932) Prohibition revoked, 1954

James Hanley, Ebb and Flood: A Novel (London: John Lane, 1932)


George Moore, A Story-Teller’s Holiday (London: privately printed, 1918; New York: Cumann Seaneolais na hEireann, 1918)

Liam O’ Flaherty, The Martyr (London: Victor Gollancz, 1933)

George Bernard Shaw, The Adventures of the Black Girl in her Search for God (London: Constable & Co, 1932)

Prohibition revoked, 1948

Con O’Leary, A Hillside Man (London: Lovat Dickson, 1933)

John Brophy, The Rocky Road: A Novel (London: Jonathan Cape, 1932)

Rearden Conner, Shake Hands with the Devil: A Novel (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1933)


Liam O’Flaherty, Shame the Devil (London: Grayson & Grayson, 1934)

Patrick Kirwan, Black Exchange (London: Grayson & Grayson, 1934)

Samuel Beckett, More Pricks than Kicks (London: Chatto & Windus, 1934)

Prohibition revoked, 1952

John Brophy, The World Went Mad (London: Jonathan Cape, 1934)

Rearden Conner Rude Earth: A Novel (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1934)

Sean O’Casey, Windfalls: stories, poems and plays (London: Macmillan & Co, 1934)


Francis Plunkett, As the Fool (London: Wishart & Co, 1935)

W. F. Casey, Private Life of a Successful Man (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1935)


Austin Clarke, The Singing-Men at Cashel (London: Allen & Unwin, 1936)

Francis Hackett, The Green Lion (London: Nicholson & Watson, 1936)

Prohibition revoked, 1951

Patrick Mulloy, Jackets Green (London: Grayson & Grayson, 1936)

Pat O’Mara, Irish Slummy in America (London: Martin Hopkinson, 1935)

Seán O’Faoláin, Bird Alone (London: Jonathan Cape, 1936)

Prohibition revoked, 1947

John Brophy, Pluck the Flower (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1929) and The Ramparts of Virtue (London: Jonathan Cape, 1936)

Elizabeth Connor [Una Troy], Mount Prospect (London: Methuen & Co, 1936)

Kate O’Brien, Mary Lavelle (London and Toronto: Wm Heinemann, 1936)

James Hanley, Stoker Bush (London: Chatto & Windus, 1935)


George Buchanan, A London Story (London: Constable & Co, 1935)

Liam O’Flaherty, Hollywood Cemetery (London: Victor Gollancz, 1935)

Prohibition revoked, 1951

Norah Hoult, Coming from the Fair (London and Toronto: Wm Heinemann, 1937)


Joyce Cary, Castle Corner (London: Victor Gollancz, 1938)

Louis Lynch D’Alton, Rags and Sticks (London and Toronto: Wm Heinemann, 1938)

Jim Phelan, Lifer (London: Peter Davies, 1938)

Rearden Conner, The Sword of Love (London: Cassell & Co, 1938)

Shaw Desmond, Chaos (London: Hutchinson & Co, 1938)


Norah Hoult, Nine Years is a Long Time (London and Toronto: Wm Heinemann, 1938)

Sean O’Casey, I Knock at the Door (London: Macmillan & Co, 1939)

Francis Stuart, Julie (London: Collins, 1938)

John Brophy, Gentlemen of Stratford (London: Collins, 1939)


Norah Hoult, Four Women Grow Up (London and Toronto: Wm Heinemann, 1940)Frank O’Connor, Dutch Interior (London: Macmillan & Co, 1940)

Prohibition revoked, 1951

Joyce Cary, Charley is My Darling (London: Michael Joseph, 1940)

John Brophy, Green Glory (London: Collins, 1940)


Eugene O’Brien, One Way Ticket (London: Jarrolds, 1940)

John Brophy, Green Ladies (London: Collins, 1940) and Waterfront (London: Jonathan Cape, 1934)

Kate O’Brien, The Land of Spices (London and Toronto: Wm Heinemann, 1941)

Prohibition revoked, 1949

L. A. G. Strong, The Bay (London: Victor Gollancz, 1941)

Prohibition revoked, 1948

Norah Hoult, Smilin’ on the Vine (London and Toronto: Wm Heinemann, 1941)

Vivian Connell, The Squire of Shaftesbury Avenue (London: Constable & Co, 1941)


Oliver St John Gogarty, Going Native (London: Constable & Co, 1941

St John Ervine, Sophia (London: Macmillan & Co, 1941)

Joyce Cary, Herself Surprised (London: Michael Joseph, 1941)

M. J. Farrell [Molly Keane], Two Days in Aragon (London: Collins, 1941)

Sean O’Casey, Pictures in the Hallway (London: Macmillan & Co, 1942)

Prohibition revoked, 1947

Jack O’Connor, Boom Town (London: Constable & Co, 1938)

Eric Cross, The Tailor and Ansty (London: Chapman & Hall, 1942)

Prohibition revoked, 1948

Norah Hoult, Augusta Steps Out (London and Toronto: Wm Heinemann, 1942)


James Hanley, The Furys (London: Chatto & Windus, 1935) and No Directions (London: Faber & Faber, 1943)

Vivian Connell, The Peacock is a Gentleman (London: Robert Hale, 1942) and The Chinese Room (London: Secker & Warburg, 1943)

Hugh Shearman (ed.), The Bishop’s Confession (London: Faber & Faber, 1943)

Maura Laverty, Alone We Embark (London: Longmans & Co, 1943)

Prohibition revoked, 1953


James Joyce, Stephen Hero (London: Jonathan Cape, 1944)

Prohibition revoked, 1951


Norah Hoult, There Were No Windows (London and Toronto: Wm Heinemann, 1944)

Jim Phelan, …And Blackthorns (London: Nicholson & Watson, 1944)


Brian Merriman (trans. Frank O’Connor), The Midnight Court (London and Dublin: Maurice Fridberg, 1945)

Joyce Cary, The Horse’s Mouth (London: Michael Joseph, 1944) and The Moonlight

(London: Michael Joseph, 1946)

Liam O’Flaherty, Land (London: Victor Gollancz, 1946)

Oliver St John Gogarty, Mr Petunia (London: Constable & Co, 1946)

Norah Hoult, House Under Mars (London and Toronto: Wm Heinemann, 1946) and Selected Stories (London and Dublin: Maurice Fridberg, 1946)


Maura Laverty, Lift Up Your Gates (London: Longmans & Co, 1946)

Rearden Conner, The Devil Among the Tailors (London: MacDonald & Co, 1947)

Frank O’Connor, The Common Chord (London: Macmillan & Co, 1947)

Norah Hoult, Time, Gentlemen! Time! (London and Toronto: Wm Heinemann, Pocket Edition, 1947—first published, 1930)

Ernest Gebler, He Had My Heart Scalded (London: Marston & Co, 1946)

John Brophy, City of Departures (London: Collins, 1946)


Shaw Desmond, The Story of Adam Verity (London: Hutchinson & Co, 1947)

Frank Harris, Frank Harris: My Life and Adventures (London: The Richards Press, 1947)

Walter Macken, Quench the Moon (London: Macmillan & Co, 1948)

Vivian Connell, The Golden Sleep (London: Secker & Warburg, 1948)

Patrick Kavanagh, Tarry Flynn (London: Pilot Press, 1948)

Prohibition revoked, 1948

Jim Phelan, The Name’s Phelan (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1948)


Francis Stuart, Redemption (London: Victor Gollancz, 1949)

Rearden Conner, My Love to the Gallows (London: MacDonald & Co, 1949)

Prohibition revoked, 1949


Benedict Kiely, In a Harbour Green (London: Jonathan Cape, 1949)

Prohibition revoked, 1950

Joyce Cary, A Fearful Joy (London: Michael Joseph, 1949)

Walter Macken, I Am Alone (London: Macmillan & Co, 1949)

George Buchanan, Rose Forbes (London: Faber & Faber, 1950)

Francis Stuart, The Flowering Cross (London: Victor Gollancz, 1950)

Anthony West, On a Dark Night (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1949)

Prohibition revoked, 1950

Rearden Conner, Hunger of the Heart (London: MacDonald & Co, 1949)

Prohibition revoked, 1950


Frank O’Connor, Traveller’s Samples (London: Macmillan & Co, 1951)

Vivian Connell, The Hounds of Cloneen (London: Hutchinson & Co, 1951)

John Brophy, Windfall (London: Collins, 1951)

Jim Phelan, Vagabond Cavalry (London and New York: Boardman & Co, 1951)


Francis Stuart, Good Friday’s Daughter (London: Victor Gollancz, 1952)

Anthony West, Another Kind (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1951)

John Brophy, Turn the Key Softly (London: Collins, 1951)

Sam Hanna Bell, December Bride (London: Dennis Dobson, 1951)

Walter Macken, The Bogman (London: Macmillan & Co, 1952)

Vivian Connell, September in Quinze (London: Hutchinson & Co, 1952)

George Buchanan, A Place to Live (London: Faber & Faber, 1952)

Austin Clarke, The Sun Dances at Easter (London: Andrew Melrose, 1952)

Brian Moore, Wreath for a Redhead (Toronto: Harlequin, 1951)


Vivian Connell, A Man of Parts (New York: Fawcett Publications, 1950)

Brian Cleeve, Portrait of My City (London: Jarrolds, 1952) and The Night Winds (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1954); first published as Birth of a Dark Soul (London: Jarrolds, 1953)

LAG Strong, The Hill of Howth (London: Methuen & Co, 1953)

Francis Stuart, The Chariot (London: Victor Gollancz, 1953)


John Brophy, The Prime of Life (London: Collins, 1951)

Benedict Kiely, Honey Seems Bitter (London: Methuen & Co, 1954)

Samuel Beckett, Watt (Paris: Olympia Press, 1953)

Shaw Desmond, Adam and Eve: A Guide to Sex and Marriage (London: Frederick Muller, 1954)

Norah Hoult, Journey into Print (London: Hutchinson & Co, 1954)

Rearden Conner, The Singing Stone (London: MacDonald & Co, 1951)


Joyce Cary, Not Honour More (London: Michael Joseph/Harper, 1955)

Brian Moore, Judith Hearne (London: Andre Deutsch, 1955)

Prohibition revoked, 1955

Benedict Kiely, There Was an Ancient House (London: Metheun & Co, 1955)

Prohibition revoked, 1955

Francis Stuart, The Pilgrimage (London: Victor Gollancz, 1955)

Prohibition revoked, 1955


J. P. Dunleavy, The Ginger Man (Paris: Olympia Press, 1955; London: Neville Spearman, 1956)

John Brophy, The Nimble Rabbit (London: Chatto & Windus, 1955)

Samuel Beckett, Molloy (Paris: Olympia Press, 1955)

James Hanley, Levine (London: MacDonald & Co, 1956)

Prohibition revoked, 1956

Iris Murdoch, The Flight from the Enchanter (London: Chatto & Windus, 1955)


Rearden Conner, The House of Cain (London: Macmillan & Co, 1952)

John Brophy, Soldier of the Queen (London: Transworld Publications, 1957)


Brendan Behan, Borstal Boy (London: Hutchinson & Co, 1958)

Eugene O’Brien, He Swung and He Missed (New York: Avon, 1953 edn.—originally published, 1937)


Edna O’Brien, The Country Girls (London: Hutchinson & Co, 1958)


John Broderick, The Pilgrimage (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1961)

Frank O’Connor, Kings, Lords and Commons (London: Macmillan & Co, 1961—originally published in New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1959)

Prohibition revoked, 1961


Edna O’Brien, The Lonely Girl (London: Jonathan Cape, 1962)

Anthony West, The Trend is Up (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1961)

Iris Murdoch, A Severed Head (London: Chatto & Windus, 1961)


Brian Moore, An Answer from Limbo (London: Andre Deutsch, 1963)

Prohibition revoked, 1963


J. P. Dunleavy, A Singular Man (London: Bodley Head, 1964)

Edna O’Brien, Girls in Their Married Bliss (London: Jonathan Cape, 1964)


John McGahern, The Dark (London: Faber & Faber, 1965)

Edna O’Brien, August is a Wicked Month (London: Jonathan Cape, 1965)


Edna O’Brien, Casualties of Peace (London: Jonathan Cape, 1966)

Anthony West, The Ferret Fancier (London: Mayflower Books, 1966) and The Native Moment (London: New English Library, 1966)


Lee Dunne, Paddy Maguire is Dead (London: Arrow Books, 1972)


Lee Dunne, Midnight Cabbie (London: Coronet, 1974)


Lee Dunne, The Cabbie Who Came in from the Cold (London: Coronet, 1975)


Lee Dunne, The Cabfather (London: Coronet, 1976)

(p.646) (p.647) (p.648) (p.649)