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y separately published work icon Portnoy's Complaint (International) assertion single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 1969... 1969 Portnoy's Complaint
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Banned in Australia

Decision: 19 Jun 1969
NAA Source: C4129/1; Boxes P1 and P2. C4371/1; Box 4 Folder 54
Censorship notes: The book was sent to the board for review in 1969 and the prohibition was maintained. The novel was released on 16.09.1971 after Penguin Australia had released a domestic edition which was the subject of obscenity trials in four states.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

The Little Book, Portnoy's Complaint, That Changed Censorship and the Pioneer Activist Who Says We Should Still Be Concerned Ruby Cornish , 2020 single work column
— Appears in: ABC News [Online] , June 2020;
Trials of Portnoy : When Penguin Fought for Literature and Liberty Patrick Mullins , 2020 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 26 June 2020;

'One grey morning in October 1970, in a crowded, tizzy-pink courtroom on the corner of Melbourne’s Russell and La Trobe Streets, crown prosecutor Leonard Flanagan began denouncing a novel in terms that were strident and ringing.' (Introduction)

y separately published work icon The Trials of Portnoy : How Penguin Brought down Australia's Censorship System Patrick Mullins , Melbourne : Scribe , 2020 18465224 2020 single work criticism

'For more than seventy years, a succession of politicians, judges, and government officials in Australia worked in the shadows to enforce one of the most pervasive and conservative regimes of censorship in the world. The goal was simple: to keep Australia free of the moral contamination of impure literature. Under the censorship regime, books that might damage the morals of the Australian public were banned, seized, and burned; bookstores were raided; publishers were fined; and writers were charged and even jailed. But in the 1970s, that all changed.

'In 1970, in great secrecy and at considerable risk, Penguin Books Australia resolved to publish Portnoy’s ComplaintPhilip Roth’s frank, funny, and profane bestseller about a man hung up about his mother and his penis. In doing so, Penguin spurred a direct confrontation with the censorship authorities, which culminated in criminal charges, police raids, and an unprecedented series of court trials across the country.

'Sweeping from the cabinet room to the courtroom, The Trials of Portnoy draws on archival records and new interviews to show how Penguin and a band of writers, booksellers, academics, and lawyers determinedly sought for Australians the freedom to read what they wished — and how, in defeating the forces arrayed before them, they reshaped Australian literature and culture forever.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

The Athens of the South Alison Broinowski , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Adelaide : A Literary City 2014; (p. 147-161)
Being Free by Acting Free Wendy Bacon , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Overland , Autumn no. 202 2011; (p. 16-21)
In Literature's Grip Charles Waterstreet , 2010 single work column
— Appears in: The Sun-Herald , 20 June 2010; (p. 20)
Charles Waterstreet re-traces the Sydney trial relating to the Australian publication of Portnoy's Complaint.
Being Free by Acting Free Wendy Bacon , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Overland , Autumn no. 202 2011; (p. 16-21)
The Athens of the South Alison Broinowski , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Adelaide : A Literary City 2014; (p. 147-161)
y separately published work icon The Trials of Portnoy : How Penguin Brought down Australia's Censorship System Patrick Mullins , Melbourne : Scribe , 2020 18465224 2020 single work criticism

'For more than seventy years, a succession of politicians, judges, and government officials in Australia worked in the shadows to enforce one of the most pervasive and conservative regimes of censorship in the world. The goal was simple: to keep Australia free of the moral contamination of impure literature. Under the censorship regime, books that might damage the morals of the Australian public were banned, seized, and burned; bookstores were raided; publishers were fined; and writers were charged and even jailed. But in the 1970s, that all changed.

'In 1970, in great secrecy and at considerable risk, Penguin Books Australia resolved to publish Portnoy’s ComplaintPhilip Roth’s frank, funny, and profane bestseller about a man hung up about his mother and his penis. In doing so, Penguin spurred a direct confrontation with the censorship authorities, which culminated in criminal charges, police raids, and an unprecedented series of court trials across the country.

'Sweeping from the cabinet room to the courtroom, The Trials of Portnoy draws on archival records and new interviews to show how Penguin and a band of writers, booksellers, academics, and lawyers determinedly sought for Australians the freedom to read what they wished — and how, in defeating the forces arrayed before them, they reshaped Australian literature and culture forever.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Trials of Portnoy : When Penguin Fought for Literature and Liberty Patrick Mullins , 2020 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 26 June 2020;

'One grey morning in October 1970, in a crowded, tizzy-pink courtroom on the corner of Melbourne’s Russell and La Trobe Streets, crown prosecutor Leonard Flanagan began denouncing a novel in terms that were strident and ringing.' (Introduction)

Last amended 13 Nov 2013 15:54:32
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