Last month, the world of literature celebrated ‘Banned Books Week’. Throughout history, there are a lot of literary masterpieces that were prevented to be published and circulated in the market because of its explicit and controversial content. Some have been censored in order for it to be published.
Fortunately, these great books are now available in the current libraries and bookshops. But, there might still be some classic and popular books that are banned in some countries, and there are books that are restricted in schools and libraries in other places.
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Ulysses by James Joyce
The novel was considered obscene in a U.S. trial happened in 1921. Because of this judgment, the United States Postal Service burned a lot of copies of the novel. Bookmarks, an online portal that serves as a consolidated information resource for the reading public, explained on their website that the author, James Joyce showed the effect of unedited human minds where he exposed the transparent triviality of their thoughts.
Edmund Wilson, a literary critic from The New Republic also mentioned that Ulysses is a work of a genius mind. He also praised the author’s formula which takes the novel at a higher level.
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Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Published in the 1920s, the book was considered obscene during the UK’s obscenity trial. The prosecutors during that time believe that the book was being out of touch with the changing social norms happening in British society. But since it was a critical and articulate piece of literature, there are still privately printed in Florence.
Lady Chatterley's Lover earned the respect of many literature fans and critics. The Culture Trip, a global startup operating in travel, media, and entertainment, shared on its website that its publication has been successful and it brought the sexual revolution of the 1960s.
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Animal Farm by George Orwell
George Orwell was known in making thinly veiled satire that steps on the boundaries of literary censorship. The Animal Farm was banned in the Stalinist USSR after it tells the story about the brutalities of communism. In the present years, the book is still banned in Cuba and North Korea, while it is restricted in Kenya after the book talks about the issues of corruption.
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The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The book happens to be the most banned and most taught book in America. In the 1980s, the Catcher in the Rye was censored because it is believed that it encourages its readers to commit murder and suicide. Its critics also said that the novel spread communist ideas in the States.
However, some people believe that the masterpiece was elaborately written that it provides a definitive perspective of the frustrations of teenage life. The censorship encouraged rebellious and curious teenagers to seek it out more.
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Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
The book tackled the unusual romantic relationship between an older man and an underage girl named, Lolita. Because of this, many critics believed that it should be banned due to its quasi-erotic passages that show obscure content. This bitter-hearted satire about American values that took place in the mid-20th century has been censored in the United Kingdom.
The British Custom officers were ordered to seize all copies, after the novel was called, “sheer unrestrained pornography.” Orville Prescott, a critic from the New York Times said that “He writes highbrow pornography. Perhaps that is not his intention. Perhaps he thinks of his book as a satirical comedy and as an exploration of abnormal psychology.”
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Yes, this children’s favorite classic was also banned in several countries. In March 2001, a reverend from the Pentecostal Harvest Assembly of God Church in Pittsburgh claimed that the Harry Potter novels contain “ungodly” items together with the other literary pieces.
The beloved novel shares the story of an orphan boy who is unaware of the truth of his life. Harry Potter takes place in a world of magic which makes the religious conservatives think that it actually contains wicked and real-life magic spells.
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American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
The novel was restricted by the Australian national censorship. They classified American Psycho as R18 since it contains passages that elaborately describes the process of eye gouging, breast slicing, and nail gunning. Even in places where it is not banned, a lot of readers claimed that they felt squeamish after reading the novel.