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Virtual Displays: Banned Books Week September 23 - 29, 2018

This guide showcases eBook versions of physical displays at the Fr. Leonard Alvey Library.
Banning books silences stories. Speak Out! #BannedBooksWeek

Click on the graphic to learn more about banned and challenged books.

Information courtesy of The American Library Association 

Challenged Classics

The Awakening

The Awakening (1899) appears in this collection of short stories. Upon publication of the story Chopin's writing was highly praised, but the public was outraged by the content and only one edition was printed. The Awakening was rediscovered in the 1960s when Chopin was praised for raising feminist questions. The story follows the personal discovery of a married woman of the things she did not even realize she was missing.
First published in 1899, this novel so disturbed critics and the public that it was banished for decades afterward.

For Whom the Bell Tolls

A love story set against the turbulence of guerrilla warfare during the Spanish Civil War.
Declared non-mailable by the U.S. Post Office (1940). On Feb. 21, 1973, eleven Turkish book publishers went on trial before an Istanbul martial law tribunal on charges of publishing, possessing, and selling books in violation of an order of the Istanbul martial law command. They faced possible sentences of between one month's and six months’ imprisonment "for spreading propaganda unfavorable to the state" and the confiscation of their books. Eight booksellers also were on trial with the publishers on the same charge involving For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Women in Love

Dive into a provocative coming-of-age story that challenged the vestiges of England's Edwardian-era sexual mores.
Seized by John Summers of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice and declared obscene (1922).

Ethan Frome

This is a tragic 19th-century love story. The main characters are Ethan Frome, his wife Zenobia, called Zeena, and her young cousin Mattie Silver. Frome and Zeena marry after she nurses his mother in her last illness. Although Frome seems ambitious and intelligent, Zeena holds him back. When her young cousin Mattie comes to stay on their New England farm, Frome falls in love with her. But the social conventions of the day doom their love and their hopes. The story forcefully conveys Wharton's abhorrence of society's unbending standards of loyalty. Written while Wharton lived in France but before her divorce (1913), Ethan Frome became one of the best known and most popular of her works. Often banned due to infidelity and a suicide attempt. 

The Jungle

Banned from public libraries in Yugoslavia (1929). Burned in the Nazi bonfires because of Sinclair's socialist views (1933).
Banned in East Germany (1956) as inimical to communism.
Banned in South Korea (1985).

A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is semi-autobiographical, following Joyce's fictional alter-ego through his artistic awakening. The young artist Steven Dedelus begins to rebel against the Irish Catholic dogma of his childhood and discover the great philosophers and artists. He follows his artistic calling to the continent.

My Antonia

My Antonia, first published 1918, is one of Willa Cather's greatest works. It is the last novel in the Prairie trilogy, preceded by O Pioneers and The Song of the Lark. My Antonia tells the stories of several immigrant families who move out to rural Nebraska to start new lives in America, with a particular focus on a Bohemian family, the Shimerdas, whose eldest daughter is named Antonia.

The Red Badge of Courage

Crane’s book was among many on a list compiled by the Bay District School board in 1986 after parents began lodging informal complaints about books in an English classroom library.

Banned Classics

The Call of the Wild

The Call of the Wild is Jack London's most popular book and is considered by many to be his best. Telling the story of Buck, a domesticated dog whose wild instincts begin to kick-in while serving as a sled dog in the treacherous Yukon. The novel's tone is often dark, and despite being considered juvenile literature by some, it portrays much violence and cruelty.
Banned in Italy (1929), Yugoslavia (1929), and burned in Nazi bonfires (1933).

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Easily the most controversial antislavery novel written in antebellum America, and one of the best-selling books of the nineteenth century, Uncle Tom's Cabin is often credited with intensifying the sectional conflict that led to the Civil War. In his introduction, David Bromwich places Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel in its Victorian contexts and reminds us why it is an enduring work of literary and moral imagination.

Twelfth Night

Another case of mistaken identity from the king of the plot twist, Twelfth Night tells the tale of the beautiful young Viola who is separated from her twin brother, Sebastian, when their ship is lost at sea. Believing Sebastian to be dead Viol poses as a man and enters service with the Duke Orisino.
Banned in a New Hampshire school system for promoting an "alternative lifestyle."

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer's best friend, escapes down the Mississippi on a raft with the runaway slave, Jim. One of the iconic American novels, it caused a stir when published because of the vernacular used by Twain to characterize Jim and the people of the Mississippi.
The first ban of Mark Twain’s American classic in Concord, MA in 1885 called it “trash and suitable only for the slums.” Objections to the book have evolved, but only marginally. Twain’s book is one of the most-challenged of all time and is frequently challenged.

The Scarlet Letter

In the puritanical Boston of the 17th Century, a woman gives birth after committing adultery. That woman, Hester Prynne, chooses to create a new life for herself in the face of adversity rather than succumb to what is expected of her.
The book is still being banned because it is "sinful and conflicts with community values." Parents in one school district called the book “pornographic and obscene” in 1977.

Of Mice and Men

A controversial tale of friendship and tragedy during the Great Depression.
Banned in Ireland (1953); Syracuse, IN (1974); Oil City, PA (I977); Grand Blanc, MI (1979); Continental, OH (1980) and other communities. Reasons cited for ban or challenge include profanity, blasphemy, vulgarity, violence, morbid, and depressing.

1984

April 1984. Winston Smith, thinks a thought, starts a diary, and falls in love. But Big Brother is watching him, and the door to Room 101 can swing open in the blink of an eye. Its ideas have become our ideas, and Orwell's fiction is often said to be our reality.
This edition has been adapted as a play. The original edition by Orwell was challenged in the Jackson County, FL (1981) because Orwell's novel is "pro-communist and contained explicit sexual matter."

How Many Have You Read?

The Jungle Books

The Jungle Books, regarded as classic stories told by an adult to children and best known for the "Mowgli" series, also constitutes a complex literary work of art in which the whole of Kipling's philosophy of life is expressed in miniature. The stories, a mixture of fantasy, myth, and magic, are underpinned by Kipling's abiding preoccupation with the theme of self-discovery and the nature of the "Law."

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz chronicles the adventure of Dorothy in the land of Oz.
Often banned for having "no value" for children and supporting "negativism." Also banned for anthropomorphism, the literary device in which a writer gives human traits, emotions, and behavior to animals.

Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness is Joseph Conrad's disturbing novella recounted by the itinerant captain Marlow sent to find and bring home the shadowy and inscrutable Captain Kurtz. Marlow and his men follow a river deep into a jungle, the Heart of Darkness of Africa looking for Kurtz, an unhinged leader of an isolated trading station. This highly symbolic psychological drama was the founding myth for Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 movie Apocalypse Now.

A Room with a View

British social comedy examines a young heroine's struggle against Victorian attitudes as she rejects the man her family has encouraged her to marry and chooses, instead, a socially unsuitable fellow she met on holiday in Italy. Often challenged due to erotic undertones.

The Age of Innocence

The Age of Innocence is an intimate portrayal of East Coast American society in the 19th century--and the human lives that came into conflict with it. Newland Archer is heir to one of New York City's first families, and his bride-to-be is everything he ever hoped. Then his fiancee's older cousin leaves her European husband and appears in New York, where she refuses to conform to society and her family's wishes. Often banned or challenged due to "questionable morals."

The Canterbury Tales

A collection of 24 stories told by a group of pilgrims.
The book was banned at a high school in Illinois for sexual content.

Leaves of Grass

Leaves of Grass is a collection of poems by Walt Whitman originally published in 1855 at the poet's own expense. Criticized when first released for Whitman's use of free verse and his rather racy depictions of sexual love and the senses, Leaves of Grass is a celebration of the human form, the material world, and nature.

Moby Dick

This classic story of high adventure, manic obsession, and metaphysical speculation was Melville's masterpiece.
A Texas school district banned the book from its Advanced English class lists because it “conflicted with their community values” in 1996.