National parapraxis: sex and forgetting in Australian censorship history

Nicole Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Can censorship be thought of as a process of forgetting, motivated by repressed sexual meaning, via the mechanism of parapraxis, as Freud described it? The present article pursues theoretical models for a new history of literary obscenity in Australia. It is an excursion through Freud and psychoanalysis, memory models for history, Michel Foucault on the archive, neo-Marxists Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri on colonial modernity, and touches on feminist critiques. It turns finally to systematically examine the archived files of the Commonwealth Literary Censorship Board, arguing that the tension between empirical approaches and theoretical abstraction is both produced by and overwhelmed by the detailed complexity of archival sources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-314
Number of pages19
JournalAustralian Historical Studies
Issue number126
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • literary obscenity
  • psychoanalysis
  • memory
  • Commonwealth Literary Censorship Board


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