Books have been censored, banned or burned at various times due to to perceived obsenity and
permissiveness, or for their pro-civil rights, anti-war, anti-government, or anti-corruption stance. Authors have been harassed, imprisoned, and even killed by authorities around the world.
The most famous case of book banning in Australia was Frank Hardy's Power without glory which was withdrawn in 1950 when the author was accused of libel, but it was re-released in 1951 when Hardy was found not guilty.
Think that censorship was only a problem for Australians in the conservative 1950's and that it cant happen in this day and age?
Last month the Aldi supermarket chain removed Roald Dahl's iconic children's book "Revolting Rhymes" from its shelves after complaints from a customer. It sparked outrage on social media, especially as it was just a week prior to the annual World Ronald Dahl Day, and a fortnight before Banned Books Week. Image credit: Mystic Politics
Free your mind!
You can find many banned books in the Library. Look for our special banned books display this week at the Hawthorn Campus Library.
Have you read any of these?
Bret Easton Ellis, American psycho (1991) - sale and purchase was banned in Queensland.
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club (1996) - was initially rejected by publishers as being "too disturbing" - it remains one of he most challenged books in schools and libraries.
Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses (1988) - banned for blasphemy in Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Iran, Kenya, Kuwait, Liberia, Malaysia, PNG, Pakistan, Senegal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Thailand.
Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962) - removed from public schools in several USA states in the 1970s.
Allen Ginsberg, Howl (1955) - in 1957 the 1st edition was seized by San Francisco Customs for obscenity. Ginsberg won his obscenity trial.
Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1951) - withdrawn from schools and libraries when it was first published because of racial mixing, drug use and drunkenness.
J. D. Salinger, The catcher in the rye (1951) - between 1961 and 1982 the most censored book in schools and libraries in the USA.
Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman (1949) - challenging American consumerism was seen as pro-communist so Miller attracted the attention of the McCarthyist House of Un-American Activities
Committee. The play was banned on charges of profanity. It was also banned in the USSR in 1969 because Miller campaigned for freedom of dissident writers. The Crucible (1953) - Miller used the witch trials of Salem as an allegory for McCarthyism ... he was blacklisted.
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath (1939) - attacked by the Associated Farmers of California and banned in much of the USA until 1941, especially in California for its unflattering portrayal of inhabitants. East of Eden (1952) - has been subject to many attempts to remove it from libraries in several USA states.
Truman Capote, In Cold Blood (1966) - was banned in Georgia due to violence and profanity.
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) - is on the top 50 challenged books list, in 1977 it was temporarily banned in Minnesota due to "objectionable words".
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) - banned by Confederates during the American Civil War because of its anti-slavery message ... also banned in Russia by Tzar Nicholas I under the premise that it "undermined religious ideals" but really because of its pro-equality stance.
Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago (1957) - banned by the Communist Party in
the USSR and forbidden right up until 1987. Pasternak was awarded the Nobel
for Literature but declined because he was afraid that if he left
Russia to receive the award he would be exiled.
Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front (1929) - banned and burned by the Nazis in 1933 for its anti-war stance. Nazi propaganda claimed Remarque was of French Jewish
Ernest Hemingway, A farewell to arms (1929) - banned in Italy in 1929 for its description of the Italian retreat after the Battle of Caporetto during World War I. For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) - was banned in Spain for its anti-Franco views.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) - there have been many attempts to censor it in the USA due to obscenity and its
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
(1961) - banned in several USA states ... in Ohio 1972, Dallas 1974, and Washington 1979.
George Orwell, Animal Farm (1945) - Orwell had trouble getting published because the USSR was Britain's ally in World War II. After publication the USSR banned the book. It is still banned in Cuba and North Korea, and censored in China. In 1991 Kenya banned a play adaptation because it was critical of corrupt leaders. In 2002 it was banned in the UAE because of the talking pig character. 1984 (1949) - was banned by the USSR in 1950 for satirising Stalin. It was almost banned by the USA and UK during the 1960s Cuban Missile Crisis.
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale (1985) - It is frequently challenged in the USA by parents who declaree it anti-Christian - listed as one of the 100 most frequently challenged books.
James Joyce, Ulysses (1922) - banned in the UK until the 1930s and temporarily banned in the USA until 1933. It was banned in Australia from 1929 to 1937, then from 1941 to 1953 restricted to readers over 18years.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange (1962) - was banned in the United States and Britain due it its ultra-violence.
Philip Roth, Portnoy's Complaint (1969) - Australia's National Literature Board of Review declared it a prohibited import in in 1969.
Gore Vidal, Myra Breckinridge (1968) - the USA edition was banned in Australia from 1968-1973, only an expurgated British edition was available.
Grace Metalious, Peyton Place (1956) - banned in many USA states for its depiction of adultery, abortion, incest, domestic violence and homosexuality.
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (1955) - banned in several countries including France, Britain and South Africa.
Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure (1895) - banned for dealing with loveless marriages, illegitimate children and suicide.
Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis (1915) - all of Kafka's books were banned under the Nazi and Soviet regimes.
George Bernard Shaw, Mrs. Warren's Profession (1905) - controversial for its portrayal of prostitution, it was suppressed in London.
Oscar Wilde, Salome (1892) - banned in England by the Lord Chamberlain for its depiction of Biblical characters, also banned in Boston.
Anne Brontë, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848) - at the time of publication it was banned in many areas of Europe.
Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary (1856) - banned and the author prosecuted for "offenses against public morals". Flaubert was acquitted in 1857 - the re-released book was a bestseller.
Lewis Carroll, Alice's adventures in wonderland (1865) - banned in the province of Hunan, China, from 1931
for its portrayal of humanized animals.
Charles Darwin, On The Origin of Species by means of natural selection (1859) - Tennessee passed the Butler Act in 1925 banning schools teaching evolution in favour of creationism. As recently as 2001 the Santorum Amendment encouraged teaching of anti-Darwinian "Intelligent Design" in USA schools. Adolf Hitler listed Darwin in Die Bucherei (the Nazi guide on which books to remove from libraries) because Darwinism clashed with Hitlers racial purity and eugenics theories.
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818) - banned in apartheid South Africa in 1955 for containing "obscene" material
Victor Hugo, Hunchback of Notre Dame (1834) - banned by the Catholic Church's Index Librorum Prohibitorum, not for its anti-clerical scenes but because it was "sensual, libidinous or lascivious." Les Miserables was also placed on the Index for similar reasons.
Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man (1791) - banned in the UK and Paine was charged with treason for supporting the French Revolution ... also banned in Tsarist Russia after the Decembrist revolt.
Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders (1722) - banned in the USA under the Federal Anti-Obscenity Act (1873 Comstock Law).
John Cleland, Fanny Hill (1748) - Cleland and his publisher, were arrested in 1749 charged with "corrupting the King's subjects". Cleland had to publicly renounce the book and withdraw it before he was freed. It was also banned in the United States in 1821 until 1966.
Voltaire Candide (1759) - placed on the Catholic Church's Index Librorum Prohibitorum in 1762 because a fictional Pope is the father of one of the characters and because it pokes fun at the theory that God is perfect and as God created the world, everything in the world is also perfect.
John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667) - a reflection on the defeat of Cromwell's revolution and the restoration of the monarchy using Satan as a metaphor. The Catholic Church listed it in the Index Librorum Prohibitorum until 1758.
Francois Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel (1533) - a comic masterpiece where giants Gargantua (the father) and Pantagruel (his son) satirise religion with crudity and scatological humor - censored in France.
Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (14th century) - banned in the USA as "inappropriate" under the Comstock Law.
Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron (1353) - banned and burned in Italy in 1497 & 1553 ... also banned in the USA under the Comstock Law.
Sophocles, Oedipus Rex (429 BC) - banned in England in the 1800s because of its sexual themes.
Aristophanes, Lysistrata (411 BC) - was banned in the USA during the civil war - up until 1930s, by the Nazis in 1942, also banned in 1967 in Greece because of its anti-war message.