Famously banned books

Censorship. Probably the most hated word by creative individuals. Books have always been used by the oppressed as a means to fight the oppressor. Also, books have always been the weapon of choice for those who had an opinion different than that shared by the vast majority. But all this also meant that lot of books have been banned throughout history.

Here’s a list of famously banned books.

Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

“Without doubt it is the filthiest book I have ever read.” – John Gordon, editor of The Sunday Express

The manuscript was turned down by five of the largest publishers in the US. British Customs would seize all copies entering the UK, while in France the novel was banned for a period of two years.

The Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka

As a matter of fact, all of Kafka’s books were banned during the Nazi and Soviet regimes. It was considered a decadent and hopeless work of art, and even a threat to the concept of family so highly regarded by the soviets.

The Satanic Verses – Salman Rushdie

The novel provoked great controversy in the Muslim community for what some Muslims believed were blasphemous references. The book was banned in India, and copies were burned in demonstrations in the United Kingdom.

In 1989 the Ayatollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, issued a fatwa calling for the death of Rushdie and his publishers. The author has since lived in hiding.

Slaughterhouse-Five – Kurt Vonnegut

The novel has been criticized for it obscene content and depictions of sex, American soldiers’ use of profanity, and perceived heresy. In the United States it has been banned from literature classes, removed from school libraries, and struck from literary curricula.

In 1972, following the ruling of Todd v. Rochester Community Schools, it was banned from Rochester Community Schools in Oakland County, Michigan. In August 2011, the novel was banned at the high school in Missouri.

Tropic of Cancer – Henry Miller

In 1934, following the novel’s publication in France, the United States banned the book from being imported. Even though it took a number of lawsuits and thirty years before the Supreme Court ruled that the novel was not obscene, the truth is that people weren’t ready for this book to come out when it did. Most people aren’t ready as of right now to read it.

The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

Steinbeck’s novel “was a phenomenon on the scale of a national event. It was publicly banned and burned by citizens, it was debated on national radio; but above all, it was read.” It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1939.

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

It was banned in Ireland for its language, and for supposedly being anti-family and anti-religion.

The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

Between 1961 and 1982, The Catcher in the Rye held the title as most censored book in high schools and libraries in the United States.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn -Mark Twain

Banned for being vulgar. And because the words “nigger” is used a lot.

***

I’d say it’s quite simple. We’re all frightened animals who won’t be here for very long. It is something inherent in our nature.

I’d also like to say that life is not only stranger than fiction, but more frightening, more terrifying, and a hell lot more vulgar than anything we can write or even imagine. The things we have done to each other and continue to do to each other surpass even our worst nightmares. 

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