13 August 2007

"An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all."- Oscar Wilde

Janet Yanosko has compiled an ever-evolving list of banned & challenged books. While its presented in a fairly light-hearted fire & brimstone fashion, it appears exhaustively researched.

All the books listed on the site were challenged on some grounds by groups who wished to impose restrictions on them - some were removed from reading lists, some were removed from schools or public libraries and some were burned in bonfires. He also gives little anecdotes about why they were banned or challenged which are almost always comical and ridiculous and links to purchase these dangerous books.

For instance:

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll. Banned in China (1931) for portraying animals and humans on the same level, "Animals should not use human language."

1984 . George Orwell. Challenged in the Jackson County, Fla. (1981) because the novel is "pro-communist and contained explicit sexual matter."

Brave New World. Aldous Huxley. Banned in Ireland (1932). Removed from classroom in Miller, Mo. (1980). Challenged at the Yukon, Okla. High School (1988); challenged as required reading in the Corona-Norco, Calif. Unified School District (1993) because the book "centered around negative activity."

The Talmud. Soncino Pr. Burned in Cairo, Egypt (1190); Paris, France (1244); and Salamanca, Spain (1490). The Catholic Church in the Middle Ages tried to suppress this work. Pope Gregory IX ordered it burned (1239); Pope Innocent IV ordered King Louis IX of France to burn all copies (1248 and 1254); Pope Benedict XIII ordered the bishops of the Italian dioceses to confiscate all copies (1415); Pope Julius III ordered that Christians reading the Talmud be excommunicated; Pope Clement VIII forbade both "Christians and Jews from owning, reading, buying or circulating Talmudic or Cabbalistic books or other godless writing." (1592)

The site is The Forbidden Library. Give it a spin. You can browse by author and title as well.

"Every burned book enlightens the world." -- Emerson

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