Wednesday 20 September 2017

Banning 'The Dark'

Author John McGahern
Author John McGahern

JOHN McGahern's first novel 'The Barracks' won widespread acclaim but it was his second work of fiction 'The Dark' that brought him both celebrity and notoriety.

Published in 1965, 'The Dark' dealt with issues of parental and clerical child abuse. The book was banned by the Censorship Board for obscenity in 1965.

Shortly after, McGahern was dismissed from his post as a school teacher on the instructions of the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid.

The Trade Union refused to fight McGahern's case, stating that the controversy surrounding the book and his marriage to Finnish theatre director, Annikki Laaksi, had turned him into a "hopeless case entirely".

McGahern left the country and spent the next 10 years in England, France, and the United States.

The ban on 'The Dark' eventually lapsed in 1972.

Irish Independent

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