Top 5 is a weekly bookish assessment by Gingerreadslainey and today’s feedback is banned books, in celebration of banned books week. My list includes books formerly banned by officials: governments,religious bodies, schools, libraries etc. One more thing, you can access the topics on the Goodreads Group, come join us making Wednesday alive :P.
Let us dive into it:
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Picture the second bestselling novel/book of the 19th century under the ‘banned category.’ Why would a book so popular receive such label? You see during the American Civil War, the Confederate States did not want this book around because its content helped anti-slavery sentiments. Many Southerners were so enraged by the book that, the author received threatening letters. Imagine even Russia in 1852 under Nicholas I, banned the book for issue of equality for all and for undervaluing some religious portrayals. Not to long after, Italy and all papal states bans the book in 1855 for spreading the Protestant faith. Furthermore, many took issues with the language choice, Illinois in 1984, bans the book because of the word ‘nigger.’
Candide by Voltaire
The novel published in January 1759, banned by Paris administrators at the end of February of the same year. Both religious and secular leader denounce Candide because of its portrayal of the church and government. The church felt young Candide activities were contrary to morals and Voltaire mockery of some church officials. In 1762, The Roman Catholic Church included the novel amongst its prohibited list- Index Librorum Prohibitorum . The Government was not happy of Voltaire’s satire of historic events which seem to represent real past occurences. Inspite of these convictions, the novel became a bestseller, selling 20,000 to 30,000 copies in over 20 different editions by the end of 1759. Furthermore, up to February, 1929 a US Custom official in Boston prevented some copies of the novels from passing through to Havard University, deeming the novel ‘obsence.’ However by August of that year, copies(different editions) of the novel passed through after two Harvard professors defended the use of the text due to the earlier incident. In 1944, Candide did not receive favourable treatment from the US Postal Service, when they demanded the novel’s omission from a mail catalog -Concord Books.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Through the story of Okonkwo, Achebe depicts how Christian missionaries help changed and unmind the local religion of the people, changing from gods to God. Furthermore, the change to white rule shows the negative effects of British colonial rule for villagers in Nigeria. Things Fall Apart is one of the most widely read and studied African Literature text in Africa, Europe and North America, selling more than 100 million copies and translated in over 50 different language. However, many criticize the author’s treatment of colonialism, for this reason, the book’s sale is restricted in Malaysia. In addition, because the author was vocal against a state funeral for a Nigerian politician, the book was banned in 1988 in Western Nigeria.
The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm by The Grimm Brothers
It is a collection of many fairy tales that children all over the world grew up with especially for bedtime story time. The Grimm brothers version of the stories sometimes differ from other book versions but some of the stories were kept in their original state. The illustrations of the Grimm Brothers fairytales made them popular and part of bedtime culture and in inspiring many film adaptation. There are over 160 different language editions from its original German publication in 1812, in addition to several editions. In several countries, the stories sale rival the all time bestseller – the bible. However, with popularity and success come criticisms. California School Districts, in 1989 banned Little Red Riding Hood because of its use of wine for grandma. The superintendent argument revolved around the story encouraging and making it okay for kids to consume alcohol. In addition, in 1994 an Arizona School District banned the collection for children 6th grade and below, citing some religious undetones, violence and characterization of girls/women. Many parents challenge the use of the fairytales for school lessons leading schools like the Florida District in 1992 to issue a mandatory parental slip to access the Grimm Fairytales.
The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
Published in 1948, the story[partly written from.the author’s war experience] covers an American regiment’s movements towards the Japanese forces, in a bid to take over the island of Anopopei for American enterprise in the Phillipines. As they advance closer to Japs, you get a glimpse each soldier’s life: family, spiritual, life after war etc. After three months of publication, the book sold 200, 000 copies and remaining 62 weeks as a ‘New York’s List’ bestseller. The author had many praise for his own book but it was banned in Canada and Australia in 1949 for its violence and f bombs. The author did replace all the f bombs with the word ‘fug’ but not without mockery from a few people, yet still many critics cried out . The book was available in Canada for a year when the Minister of National Revenue decided it was “disgusting.”
*Censorship in British Columbia: A History by BCLA Intellectual Freedom Committee
*Banned Books On Line by The Online Book Page
*Top 10 Censored Books by TIME on September 28th, 2008
*Top 10 Banned Book That Changed The Face of Black History by Dara Plath on February 5th, 2015
*Banned Books: A Complete List of 144 Books and the Reasons Why They Were Outlawed by PostDesk on July 31st, 2013
*List of Books Banned by Governments by Wikipedia
What banned books have you read? What do you think about the reasons for these censored reading?