y My Secret Life (International) assertion single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 1966 1966
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

My Secret Life, a voluminous sexual memoir written by an anonymous upper-middle-class gentleman who identifies himself by the name Walter, was first published in a very limited and private manner in 1888.

Banned in Australia

Censorship Agencies: Literature Censorship Board
Decision: 18 Dec 1967
NAA Source: C4226; 'My Secret Life' folder. C4129; Box 'M'. C4371/1; Box 1 Folder 8.
Censorship notes: This book was sent to the board in 1967 because it is quoted in Steven Marcus' banned scholarly study The Other Victorians at length, and a new edition had been published in 1966. Richard G Fox in his 1967 history of the legal concept of obscenity in Australia notes that it was:'[u]ntil recently said to be the rarest and most expensive work of obscenity in the world. Only three copies of the entire eleven volume set were known to exist. However in 1966 the work was reprinted in the United States of America by Grove Press' (24). Fox cites Phyllis and Eberhard Kronhausens' Pornography and the Law (106-25), which was itself banned in Australia from 1960-1968.
Censorship notes: One of the censors noted: 'I do not consider the book suitable for general circulation: there is not a chapter without a string of indecencies; but it is a document of some importance for study of the social life of the period...'


  • The work was published anonymously but according to Legman's introduction to the 1966 edition the author may be H. S. Ashbee, a late Victorian collector of pornography.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • New York (City), New York (State),
      United States of America (USA),
      Grove Press , 1966 .
      Extent: 2359p.
      Description: Originally published anonymously in an ed. of 6 copies in Amsterdam around 1890.
Last amended 12 Oct 2016 14:11:50
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