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Speaking of Bannings Empty Speaking of Bannings

Fri 11 Apr 2014, 5:47 pm
Over at the Wikipedia, someone did a good job of putting together a list of books that have been banned throughout history. It's interesting how it shows the minds of censors at work.


Lysistrata (411 BC) Aristophanes, Script.
Banned in 1967 in Greece because of its anti-war message.

The Death of Lorca (1971) Ian Gibson, Biography, True crime.
Banned briefly in Spain.
[apparently it just needed to be checked out; no word on any further killings necessitated by publication -- dwd]

The Diary of Anne Frank (1947) Anne Frank, Biography.
Banned in Lebanon for "portray[ing] Jews, Israel or Zionism favorably."
[covers a lot of territory]


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865), Lewis Carroll, Children's novel/adventure.
Used to be banned in the province of Hunan, China, beginning in 1931 for its portrayal of anthropomorphized animals acting on the same level of complexity as human beings. The censor General Ho Chien believed that attributing human language to animals was an insult to humans. He feared that the book would teach children to regard humans and animals on the same level, which would be "disastrous."

Animal Farm (1945), George Orwell, Political novella.
Completed in 1943, Orwell found that no publisher would print the book, due to its criticism of the U.S.S.R., an important ally of Britain in the War. Once published, the book was banned in the USSR and other communist countries. A play of Animal Farm was banned in Kenya in 1991, because it criticizes corrupt leaders. In 2002, the novel was banned in the schools of the United Arab Emirates, because it contained text or images that goes against Islamic values, most notably the occurrence of an anthropomorphic, talking pig. The book is still banned in Cuba and North Korea, and censored in China.

Green Eggs and Ham (1960), Dr. Seuss, Novel.
In 1965, the children's novel was temporarily banned in the People's Republic of China for its portrayal of early Marxism. The ban was lifted in 1991, following Seuss' death.

Various works, Shen Congwen (1902–1988), Novels.
"Denounced by the Communists and Nationalists alike, Mr. Shen saw his writings banned in Taiwan, while mainland [China] publishing houses burned his books and destroyed printing plates for his novels. .... So successful was the effort to erase Mr. Shen's name from the modern literary record that few younger Chinese today recognize his name, much less the breadth of his work. Only since 1978 has the Chinese Government reissued selections of his writings, although in editions of only a few thousand copies. .... In China, his passing was unreported."

Zhuan Falun (1993), Li Hongzhi, Spiritual.
Banned in Mainland China.

Big River, Big Sea — Untold Stories of 1949 (2009), Lung Ying-tai, Non-fiction.
It sold over 100,000 copies in Taiwan and 10,000 in Hong Kong in its first month of release, but discussion of her work was banned in mainland China following the book launch.

"Big River, Big Sea — Untold Stories of 1949 is a collection of stories written by Taiwanese author Lung Ying-tai published in August 2009. It tells in detail, the events from the surrounding the conclusion of the Chinese Civil War including Chinese families that were broken up by the civil war that ended in the Kuomintang’s defeat in 1949, with some two million escaping to Taiwan. Lung Ying-tai spent more than 10 years researching material for the book and spent 400 days in Changchun, Nanjing, Shenyang, Taiwan's Mazu islands, Taidong, and Pingdong paying a visit to survivors of the Chinese Civil War in order to record their stories."

South Korea:

A Spoon on Earth, Hyeon Gi-yeong, Novel.
Banned for distribution within the South Korean military as one of 23 books banned there beginning on August 2008.

Year 501: The Conquest Continues (1993), Noam Chomsky, Politics.
Banned for distribution in South Korean military as one of 23 books banned on August 1, 2008.

Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism (2008), Ha-Joon Chang, Non-fiction.
One of 23 books from Aug 1st 2008 banned for distribution in South Korean military.


The Devil's Discus (1964) Rayne Kruger, Non-fiction.
Banned in Thailand in 2006.

The King Never Smiles (2006) Paul M. Handley, Biography.
Banned in Thailand for its criticism of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.


The Fugitive (Perburuan) (1950) Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Novel.
Banned in Indonesia in 1950, for containing "subversive" material, including an attempt to promote Marxist-Leninist thought and other Communist theories. As of 2006, the ban is still in effect.

South Asia:

Angaray (1932) Sajjad Zaheer, Progressive short stories.
Banned in India in 1936 by the British government.

Rangila Rasul (1927) Pt. Chamupati, Religious.
Currently banned in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

The Heart of India (1958) Alexander Campbell, Fiction.
Banned by the Indian government in 1959 on grounds of being “repulsive.”

Unarmed Victory (1963) Bertrand Russell.
Banned in India. Contains unflattering details of the 1962 Sino-Indian War.

An Area of Darkness (1964) V. S. Naipaul, Travelogue.
Banned in India for its negative portrayal of India and its people.

Jinnah of Pakistan (1982) Stanley Wolpert, Biography.
Banned in Pakistan for recounting Jinnah’s taste for wine and pork.

Understanding Islam through Hadis (1982) Ram Swarup, Critique of political Islam.
Banned in India.

Smash and Grab: Annexation of Sikkim (1984) Sunanda Datta-Ray, Non-fiction.
Banned in India. Describes the process of the annexation of the Buddhist kingdom of Sikkim by the Indian government of Indira Gandhi in 1975.

The Satanic Verses (1988) Salman Rushdie, Novel.
Banned in the following countries for alleged blasphemy against Islam: Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Iran, Kenya, Kuwait, Liberia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Senegal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Thailand.

Soft Target: How the Indian Intelligence Service Penetrated Canada (1989) Zuhair Kashmeri & Brian McAndrew, Investigative journalism.
Banned in India.

Lajja (1993) Taslima Nasrin, Novel.
Banned in Bangladesh, and a few states of India.

The True Furqan (1999) "Al Saffee" and "Al Mahdee," Religious text.
Import into India prohibited on the grounds of threatening national security.

Shivaji - Hindu King in Islamic India (2003) James Laine, History.
Banned in Indian state of Maharashtra in 2004 for "promoting social enmity"; ban overturned by Bombay High Court in 2007.

Islam – A Concept of Political World Invasion (2003) R. V. Bhasin, Political ideology.
Banned in Maharashtra, India in 2007, after its publishing on grounds that it promotes communal disharmony between Hindus and Muslims.

The Hindus: An Alternative History (2009) Wendy Doniger, History.
An “alternative to the narrative of Hindu history that they tell.” Banned by an Indian court in 2014 on grounds of being "riddled with heresies".

Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence (2009) Jaswant Singh, Biography.
Temporarily banned in Gujarat, India in August 2009. The ban was overturned by the Gujarat High Court in December 2009.

Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India (2011) Joseph Lelyveld, Biography.
Is currently banned in Gujarat, a state in western India, for suggesting that Mahatma Gandhi had a homosexual relationship. Gujarat's state assembly voted unanimously in favour of the ban in April, 2011.

British Isles/United Kingdom:

Areopagitica (1644) John Milton, Essay.
Banned in the Kingdom of England for political reasons.

Rights of Man (1791) Thomas Paine, Political.
Banned in the UK and author charged with treason for supporting the French Revolution. Banned in Tsarist Russia after the Decembrist revolt.

The Well of Loneliness (1928) Radclyffe Hall, Novel.
Banned in the UK in 1928 for its lesbian theme, republished in 1949.

Spycatcher (1985) Peter Wright, Autobiography.
Banned in the UK 1985–1988 for revealing secrets. Wright was a former MI5 intelligence officer and his book was banned before it was even published in 1987.


Brave New World (1932) Aldous Huxley, Novel.
Banned in Ireland in 1932, allegedly because of references of sexual promiscuity. Banned in Australia from 1932 to 1937.

Borstal Boy (1958) Brendan Behan, Autobiographical novel.
Banned in Ireland in 1958. The Irish Censorship of Publications Board was not obliged to reveal its reason but it is believed that it was rejected for its critique of Irish republicanism and the Catholic Church, and its depiction of adolescent sexuality. It was banned in Australia and New Zealand shortly after. It was allowed to be published in New Zealand in 1963.

The Lonely Girl (1962) Edna O'Brien, Novel.
Banned in Ireland in 1962 after Archbishop John Charles McQuaid complained personally to Justice Minister Charles Haughey that it "was particularly bad."

Australia/New Zealand:

Brave New World (1932) Aldous Huxley, Novel.
Banned in Ireland in 1932, allegedly because of references of sexual promiscuity. Banned in Australia from 1932 to 1937.

Ecstasy and Me (1966) Hedy Lamarr, Autobiography.
Banned in Australia from 1967 until 1973.

The World Is Full of Married Men (1968) Jackie Collins, Novel.
Banned in Australia in 1968.

The Stud (1969) Jackie Collins, Novel.
Banned in Australia in 1969.

The Anarchist Cookbook (1971) William Powell, Instructional.
Banned in Australia.

How to make disposable silencers (1984) Desert and Eliezer Flores, Instructional.
An example of a class of books banned in Australia that "promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime or violence."

American Psycho (1991) Bret Easton Ellis, Fiction novel.
Sale and purchase was banned in the Australian State of Queensland. Now available in public libraries and for sale to people 18 years and older. Sale restricted to persons at least 18 years old in the other Australian states.

The Peaceful Pill Handbook (2007) Philip Nitschke and Fiona Stewart, Instructional manual on euthanasia.
Initially banned in New Zealand by Office of Film & Literature Classification since it was deemed to be objectionable. In May 2008 an edited version of the book was allowed for sale if sealed and an indication of the censorship classification was displayed. The book was initially restricted in Australia: after review the 2007 edition was banned outright.


Peyton Place (1956) Grace Metalious, Novel.
Banned in Canada from 1956–1958.

White Niggers of America (1970) Pierre Vallières, Political work.
Written about Quebec politics and society, was written while the author was in jail. An edition published in France was not allowed into Canada; an edition was published in the U.S. in 1971.

The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, Arthur Butz, Non-fiction.
Classified as "hate literature" in Canada with Royal Canadian Mounted Police destroying copies as recently as 1995.


South Africa:

Frankenstein (1818) Mary Shelley, Novel.
Banned in apartheid South Africa in 1955 for containing "obscene" or "indecent" material.

The Lottery (1948) Shirley Jackson, Short story.
Banned in South Africa during Apartheid.

The Satanic Bible (1969) Anton LaVey, Religious text.
Banned during apartheid in South Africa from 1973 to 1993 for moral reasons.

Burger's Daughter (1979) Nadine Gordimer, Novel.
Banned in South Africa in July 1979 for going against the government's racial policies; the ban was reversed in October of the same year.

July's People (1981) Nadine Gordimer, Novel.
Banned during the Apartheid-era in South Africa. July's People is now included in the South African school curriculum.

United States:

The Meritorious Price of Our Redemption (1650), William Pynchon, Religious ideology.
The first book banned in the New World (1650.) Pynchon, a prominent leader of the Massachusetts Bay Colony who, in 1636, founded the City of Springfield, Massachusetts beside the Connecticut River, wrote this explicit criticism of Puritanism, published in London in 1650. That year, several copies made their way back to the New World. Pynchon, who resided in Springfield, was unaware that his book suffered the New World's first book burning on the Boston Common. Accused of heresy by the Massachusetts General Court, Pynchon quietly transferred ownership of the Connecticut River Valley's largest land-holdings to his son, and then suffered indignities as he left the New World for England.

Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), Harriet Beecher Stowe, Novel.
Banned in the Confederate States during the Civil War because of its anti-slavery content. In 1852, Uncle Tom's Cabin was banned in Russia under the reign of Nicholas I because of the idea of equality it presented, and for its "undermining religious ideals."

Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1748), John Cleland, Novel.
Banned in the U.S.A. in 1821 for obscenity, then again in 1963. This was the last book ever banned in the U.S.A.

Moll Flanders, or The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders (1722), Daniel Defoe, Novel.
Banned from the U.S. mail under the Federal Anti-Obscenity Act (Comstock Law) of 1873, which banned the sending or receiving of works containing "obscene," "filthy," or "inappropriate" material.

The Canterbury Tales (late 14th century), Geoffrey Chaucer, Story collection.
Banned from the U.S. mail under the Federal Anti-Obscenity Act (Comstock Law) of 1873, which banned the sending or receiving of works containing "obscene," "filthy," or "inappropriate" material.

Candide (1759), Voltaire, Novel.
Seized by US Customs in 1930 for obscenity.

Ulysses (1922), James Joyce, Novel.
Banned in UK until the 1930s. Challenged and temporarily banned in the U.S.A for its sexual content. In 1933 the ban was overturned in United States v. One Book Called Ulysses. Banned in Australia from 1929 to 1937, then restricted to people over the age of 18 from 1941 to 1953.

Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928), D. H. Lawrence, Novel.
Temporarily banned in the United States and the United Kingdom for violation of obscenity laws; both bans were lifted in 1959 and 1960, respectively. Banned in Australia from 1929 to 1965.

Tropic of Cancer (1934), Henry Miller, Novel (fictionalized memoir).
Banned in the U.S.A in the 1930s until the early 1960s, seized by US Customs for sexually explicit content and vulgarity. The rest of Miller's work was also banned by the United States. Also banned in South Africa until the late 1980s.

The Grapes of Wrath (1939), John Steinbeck, Novel.
Was temporarily banned in many places in the US. In the region of California in which it was partially set, it was banned for its alleged unflattering portrayal of area residents.

Howl (1955), Allen Ginsberg, Poem.
Copies of the first edition seized by San Francisco Customs for obscenity in March 1957; after trial, obscenity charges were dismissed.

Catch-22 (1961), Joseph Heller, Novel.
Banned in several states: in 1972, it was banned in Strongsville, Ohio (overturned in 1976); in 1974, it was banned in Dallas, Texas, and in 1979 it was banned in Snoqualmie, Washington.

United States – Vietnam Relations: 1945–1967 (1971), Robert McNamara and the United States Department of Defense, Government study.
Also known as the Pentagon Papers. US President Nixon attempted to suspend publication of classified information. The restraint was lifted by the US Supreme Court in a 6–3 decision. See also New York Times Co. v. United States.

The Federal Mafia (1992), Irwin Schiff, Non-fiction.
An injunction was issued by a U.S. District Court in Nevada under 26 U.S.C. § 7408 against Irwin Schiff and associates Cynthia Neun and Lawrence Cohen, against the sale of this book by those persons as the court found that the information it contains is fraudulent.

Operation Dark Heart (2010), Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, Memoir.
In September 2010 the U.S. Department of Defense overrode the Army's January approval for publication. The DoD then purchased and destroyed all 9,500 first edition copies citing concerns that it contained classified information which could damage the integrity of U.S. National Security. The publisher, St. Martin's Press, in conjunction with the DoD created a censored second edition; which contains blackened out words, lines, paragraphs, and even portions of the index.
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