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To Deprave and Corrupt: Forbidden, Hidden and Censored Books

Deprave and Corrupt

The Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand (BSANZ) 2010 conference

Books have long attracted an array of legal, religious and cultural prohibitions. Most spectacularly, specific books have been decried, seized and publicly destroyed by state and religious institutions. Likewise, there is a long history of conflict over the availability and matter of children's and young adult literature. But 21st-century prohibitions also extend well beyond fiction genres, with anti-terrorism legislation and bans on euthanasia criminalising possession and sale of specific 'how-to' handbooks, or even their consultation in academic research libraries.

More pervasively, books have been subject to textual interventions that effect censorship by comparatively subtle means. There is also a wide variety of mechanisms by which certain books become hidden. Publishers, librarians and readers may themselves actively collude in obscuring practices.

But in a world of textual abundance, and with the growing penetration of algorithmic search-engines, can any book remain hidden for long? As the legal jurisdiction of the nation-state struggles to combat piracy and grass-roots file-sharing, as individual activist and corporate mass-scanning projects deliver prohibited texts virtually, and online book retailers offer an ever-growing 'long tail' of globally-sourced book titles, strategies for both prohibiting and evading prohibition are clearly in a critical state of flux.


Wednesday 14 – Friday 16 July 2010



To Deprave and Corrupt program PDF Icon 50 kb

Keynote speakers

Invited speakers

Conference dinner

Thursday 15 July 2010
University House, University of Melbourne
After-dinner speaker: Gonzo Heyglemeyer (aka Paul Elliott) former proprietor of Polyester Books, Melbourne


Recordings of papers are available from the links below. For more recordings from our School, see our podcasting page.

Speaker Title of paper
Caroline Breashears ‘Dukes or Darlings?’: The Scandalous History of Mary Anne Clarke’s Writings
Richard Pennell How Australian and British attempts at censorship conflated Islam and Deviance
Nathan Garvey Public Affairs and Private Eyes: Mapping the Trade in Scandalous Books in Late Eighteenth- Century London
Andrew Sergeant The Jammes Collection: “books condemned, hunted down and destroyed"
Emmett Stinson Books in the State of Exception: Censorship and the Sovereign Ban
Megan Richardson Copyright and Censorship – Robert Southey and his ‘Seditious’ Wat Tyler
Nicole Moore General Order 890: The Australian Banned List before 1929
Caron Eastgate Dann Ostracising Anna: How Hollywood Reinvented a 19th-century Writer and Turned a Nation against her
Patricia Holt Sensibility vs. Sense: Censoring Australian Novels in the Twentieth Century
Hui-chen Lee A Mystery Romanized Taiwanese Bible
Dennis Bryans The Trials of Robert Close
Jenny Hocking Angela Wren’s Lost Watch: Power Without Glory, Criminal Libel and Hidden Histories
Jay Daniel Thompson Writing Correctly?: ‘Political Correctness’ and the Sanitising of Literature
Jane Armstrong Categorical Censorship: Young Adult Fiction as the Guardian of Heteronormativity
Ken Gelder The Catcher in the Rye/J.D. California/Plagiarism and Literature
Mary Russell
Max McMaster
Censorship in Indexes
Elizabeth Caplice
Julianne Miller
Censorship by Omission?: Closing off Fiction in Cataloguing
Brigid Magner The Disappearing Backlist: Exploring Retail Layout in the BookScan Era
Sigi Jottkandt Seditious Libraries: Open Tools, Open Content, Open Services
Paul Ashton Radical Publishing Past and Present: Openaccess as Technology and Philosophy
Leah Gerber Corrupting the Past, Depraving the Future: Censorship in the Translation of Anna Funder’s Stasiland into German
Denise Formica Cultural Politics: the ‘Censoring’ of Imaginings of Australia in Italian Translation
Geoffrey Cains Patrick White as Censor
Kevin Patrick A Design for Depravity: Horror Comics and the Challenge of Censorship in Australia, 1950- 1986


To Deprave and Corrupt enquires



This conference is staged in partnership with The Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas at The State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

Past and Present Conferences and Seminars

Visit our archives of conferences and seminars - recordings of many papers are available for download: