Banned Books in Australia A Special Collections-Art in the Library Exhibition

The Golden Lotus (restricted 1948–1969)

In 1948 the Literature Censorship Board reviewed a translation of The Golden Lotus, a 17th-century Chinese novel. The chairman, L. H. Allen, noted that the translator had found parts of the novel ‘acutely embarrassing’ to translate and had resorted to Latin when translating explicit passages dealing with oral sex and bestiality. Unfortunately, this was not sufficient to deflect the censors, who placed the work on restricted release. There was more than a hint of ethnocentrism in the board’s explanation: ‘It may be true, as the translator asserts, that the author had no salacious intent, but what an oriental may view detachedly an occidental may regard as repugnant.’ The book was not placed on general release until 1969.

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