Censored!! A Selection of Books Banned in Years Past

George Orwell

While the totalitarianism that provoked George Orwell into writing 'Nineteen Eighty- Four' seems to be passing into oblivion, his harrowing, cautionary tale of a man trapped in a political nightmare has had the opposite fate, and its relevance and power to disturb our complacency seem to grow decade by decade. This book was challenged in 1981 in the state of Florida in large part because it was viewed as "pro-Communist."

Toni Morrison

It is the story--set in post-Civil War Ohio--of Sethe, an escaped slave who has risked death in order to wrench herself from a living death; who has lost a husband and buried a child; who has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad: a woman of "iron eyes and backbone to match." Sethe lives in a small house on the edge of town with her daughter, Denver, her mother-in-law, Baby Suggs, and a disturbing, mesmerizing intruder who calls herself Beloved.

Stephen King
A collection of four tales of outlandish, commonplace and surprising terror: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank redemption -- Apt pupil -- The body -- The Breathing Method.

It has been challenged and removed from shelves in various school libraries.

Boris Pasternak

“The best way to understand Pasternak’s achievement in Doctor Zhivago is to see it in terms of this great Russian literary tradition, as a fairy tale, not so much of good and evil as of opposing forces and needs in human destiny and history that can never be reconciled . . . [Zhivago is] a figure who embodies the principle of life itself, the principle that contradicts every abstraction of revolutionary politics.”—from the Introduction by John Bayley

Miguel de Cervantes

Widely regarded as the world's first modern novel, and one of the funniest and most tragic books ever written, Don Quixote chronicles the famous picaresque adventures of the noble knight-errant Don Quixote of La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through sixteenth-century Spain. It was banned in Madrid for the sentence "Works of charity negligently performed are of no worth."

Margaret Mitchell

Spoiled Southern belle Scarlett O'Hara never stops loving the married Ashley Wilkes even as she faces the hardships of life during the Civil War and the changes brought about by Reconstruction.

John Gardner
The Beowulf story retold from the monster's point of view reveals the darker side of human nature and values.
D.H. Lawrence

"Lady Chatterley's Lover is one of the most beautiful and tender love stories of modern fiction. It is perhaps Lawrence's greatest book. Inspired by the long-standing affair between Frieda, Lawrence’s German wife, and an Italian peasant who eventually became her third husband, Lady Chatterley’s Lover is the story of Constance Chatterley, who, while trapped in an unhappy marriage to an aristocratic mine owner whose war wounds have left him paralyzed and impotent, has an affair with Mellors, the gamekeeper. Although Lawrence wrote the book in 1928, it was banned in Britain, Australia and the United States. Penguin Books went to court in 1959 in order to publish this book. It became a best seller immediately."

Walt Whitman

"Leaves of Grass" inaugurated a new voice, style, and optimistic, bombastic vision into American letters, one that took the nation itself as subject. This classic was "Banned in Boston" in 1881 for its language.

Grace Metalious

Peyton Place, published in 1956, has sold over 10,000,000 copies world-wide and remains one of the biggest selling novels of all time. Its sequel, Return to Peyton Place, published in 1959, was a national best-seller for many, many months. It was considered absolutely scandalous when it was published. Peyton Place stirred controversy with its explicit—for the time—depictions of sex and sins in a small New England town. Today, the once shocking novel and its sequel seem tame, and are taught in college English courses as classics of their time, well-written and honest in the evocation of the passions, jealousies, and secrets of small-town America. In 1957, it was made into an award-winning movie starring Lana Turner.

George Eliot

After suffering betrayal and rejection, Silas Marner leaves his community to settle in a strange place. There the lonely weaver becomes obsessed with accumulating money, until one day a little golden-haired orphan girl wanders into his home... Set at the beginning of the industrial revolution, Silas Marner weaves a telling social commentary into an inspiring tale of love and redemption. Banned in Anaheim, CA in 1978.

Mark Twain

The bad boy of riverboating days on the Mississippi has a great time living like a pirate, witnesses a murder, gets a fortune, and attends his own funeral.

Oxford World's Classics

The Bible continues to be banned in North Korea. Other countries restrict the printing and selling of Bibles.

From the publisher of this edition:
"The Bible is the most important book in the history of Western civilization, and also the most difficult to interpret. It has been the vehicle of continual conflict, with every interpretation reflecting passionately held views that have affected not merely religion, but politics, art, and even science.

"This unique edition offers an exciting new approach to the most influential of all English biblical texts--the Authorized King James Version, complete with the Apocrypha. Its wide-ranging Introduction and the substantial notes to each book of the Bible guide the reader through the labyrinth of literary, textual, and theological issues, using the most up-to-date scholarship to demonstrate how and why the Bible has affected the literature, art and general culture of the English-speaking world.

"The Bible: Authorized King James Version also includes the latest biblical research, evaluated and put into context as well as discussing centuries of critical opinion. A non-sectarian, historical approach makes it suitable for a wide range of readers. A Glossary of terms used in the Notes and six maps of the Holy Land further illuminate the meaning of this most culturally influential version of the Bible."

Jack London

This book tells the story of the magnificent dog Buck, who is a loyal pet until cruel men make him a pawn in their search for the gold of the Klondike. Brutally treated, Buck finds the blood of his wolf ancestors rising within him and breaks free to roam the Alaskan wilderness as leader of a ferocious pack. Banned in three European countries in the '20's and '30's, it is now required reading in many U.S. schools.

William Shakespeare
A king foolishly divides his kingdom between his two scheming eldest daughters and estranges himself from the daughter who loves him. So begins this profoundly moving and disturbing tragedy that, perhaps more than any other work in literature, challenges the notion of a coherent and just universe.
Banned from the English stage from 1788-1820 out of respect to King George III's alleged insanity.
Harper Lee

Two children in a small southern town in the 1930s are thrust into an adult world of racial bigotry and hatred when their lawyer father defends a black man charged with raping a white girl. The book has been challenged and banned from several school libraries over the years.

Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine

This volume contains two works, one of which is "The Rights of Man" by Thomas Paine, which supported the French Revolution, and for which Paine was indicted for treason in England in 1792.