Literature has always been under the scrutiny of censorship. So there were always intolerant people who were hindered by an unwanted writer.
It is good that freedom reigns in today's world. And no one will come in search of forbidden literature.
But not so long ago there were times when society banned the most scandalous books, removing them from the shelves of shops and libraries. Let's talk about the most famous representatives of the "black" list.
The Wonderful New World by Aldous Huxley (1932). This book was written in 1931 and was published a year later. Initially, the novel was conceived as a parody of HG Wells' utopia People Like Gods. But in the end, the theme became very similar to the work of George Orwell "1984". The author turned to the topic of general industrialization, which was popular at that time, he investigated the problems of a person losing his "I" and a strong division of society. All this ultimately provoked simply disastrous consequences. The book contains many names and allusions associated with real politicians who influenced the fate of humanity. This satirical novel was banned in Ireland due to its ambiguous approach to childbearing. Huxley suggested that they would simply be grown in special factories. In some American states, the book was removed from school libraries, as it created too negative emotional background. The author himself, almost 30 years later, wrote a non-fiction sequel in which he came to the conclusion that humanity is moving towards a new world even faster than its expectations.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939). For this novel, the American writer John Steinbeck was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. It is about how the Great Depression affected the fate of the rural poor. A family of tenant farmers from Oklahoma, in search of a better life because of the drought and dire economic situation, left their home and went with thousands of similar unfortunates to California. The novel reveals a real human tragedy. The author himself spent the summer of 1936 among seasonal workers, collecting materials for his essays. But what he saw shocked him so much that it became the basis of the book. Steinbeck said that some of the country's citizens are dragging out a miserable existence. Literary criticism took the novel with enthusiasm, but the authorities officially banned the book in some US states. People were shocked by this detailed description of poverty. The writer himself said that his story was still embellished, in fact, the situation in the camps for forced labor migrants was much more difficult. The book was denied the right to be present in libraries in New York, St. Louis, Kansas City and Buffalo. In 1953, "Grapes of Wrath" was banned by Ireland, and in 1982 - the Canadian city of Morris. Even in the 70s and 80s, due to the use of vulgar words, "Grapes of Wrath" were prohibited in some US schools.
The Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller (1934). This work is set in France in the 1930s. The main character is the author himself, who lived in poverty in those years and tried to somehow make a living. Miller, without embarrassment, describes his sexual adventures and relationships with fellow writers. As soon as the book was published, it immediately caused a mixed reaction in society. The intimate sides of the hero's life were portrayed too frankly and expressively. Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Michael Musmanno generally said: "This is not a book. This is a cesspool, a gutter, a hotbed of decay, a slimy collection of everything that is in the rotten remains of human depravity." It turned out that people at that time were simply not ready for such a frank work. But later George Orwell called it the most important book of the mid-1930s. The US Customs Service at one time prohibited the novel from being imported into the United States, permission was granted only thanks to a decision of the US Supreme Court. In 1986, the book was banned in Turkey.
Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut (1969). The book tells the story of the American soldier Billy Pilgrim, a kind of alter ego of the author himself. During the Battle of the Ardennes in World War II, Vonnegut was captured by the Germans. The main character of the book was sent to Dresden to work. He and his comrades were kept at night in slaughterhouse # 5, and during the bombing they were taken to the basement. It was there that the prisoners were caught by the terrible American attack on Dresden. Billy himself at this moment is haunted by visions of the past and future, his own death. In his book, Vonnegut conveyed all the horror that he experienced as he pulled thousands of corpses from the ruins. The scenes were so dark that the book was banned in the United States so as not to injure children. Until now, this work is among those hundred books that most often fall under the restriction on issuance to the public by the Association of American Librarians. In fairness, it should be noted that there are also works by Mark Twain, Theodore Dreiser and other classics of world literature. Vonnegut showed that the bombing of the city was a senseless move by the US military, part of a monstrous nonsense called "war." The Germans themselves appear not as enemies, but as tired and tortured from the war as the Americans.
"Satanic Verses" by Salman Rushdie (1988). At first glance, the plot does not carry anything prejudicial. The book describes the life of an Indian emigrant in modern England. The storytelling style is magical realism. The lives of the main characters, Djibril Farishit and Saladin Chamchi, are full of transformations into angels, movements in time and space. The book is closely intertwined with religion. The Muslim community considered this attitude towards Islam to be blasphemy. A week after the publication in England, a wave swept around the world demanding to ban the book. As a result, reading such a book in Venezuela will result in 15 months in prison. Japan imposed fines on those who sold the English-language edition. Even in the US, some bookstores refused to take the book for sale, having received threats from unknown persons. In 1989, in Pakistan and India, there were massive demonstrations against Rushdie, there were even killed and wounded. Ayatollah Khomeini called for the execution of all those involved in the publication of this book, and a reward was appointed for the author's head.
It's Good to Be Quiet by Stephen Chobsky (1999). Chobsky was inspired to write this book by J.D. Selinger's "The Catcher in the Rye". The book tells the story of a boy Charlie, who writes letters to his anonymous friend. In them, a teenager talks about his life, which is full of bullying, sexual harassment and drugs. Charlie talks about his first love and suicide, his experiences are close to every teenager. The book received so many scenes of a sexual nature that it is regularly included in the list of banned by the Association of American Librarians. John Malkovich produced the film based on this novel. It was directed by the same Stephen Chobsky.
Decay, Chinua Achebe (1958). Decay became the most famous book for this African writer. For her, Achebe even received the Booker Prize in 2007. The novel tells the story of Okonkwo, the leader and local wrestling champion. The book is set at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries in Umofia, this fictional region uniting nine settlements in Nigeria. The novel shows how the British colonial system, coupled with Christian missionary work, influenced traditional African communities. This book was banned in Malaysia, local authorities considered it unnecessary to criticize colonialism and its consequences.
American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis (1991). The book tells about the life of the American Patrick Bateman. This wealthy Manhattan man eventually becomes a killer maniac. The novel caused a furor with its detailed and explicit scenes of violence and sex. Ellis described scenes of murders of young women, colleagues, homeless people, bystanders and even animals. At the same time, the maniac has no plan, he is driven by greed, envy and hatred. In 2000, the film adaptation of the novel was released. The scandalous book was limited in circulation in Germany, the authorities considered it harmful to minors. Until recently, the book was banned in Canada and Australian Queensland. The author himself, after the publication of the novel, received many letters with threats and expressions of hatred.
The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka (1912). This short story tells the story of a simple traveling salesman Gregor Samsa, who financially provided his parents and sister. One morning Samsa found himself transformed into a huge beetle. The family locked him in a room, only his sister brings him food. Having lost their income, relatives are forced to start saving. Gregor himself feels remorse. Over time, tenants settle in the house, and relatives lose interest in the former breadwinner. As a result, the former favorite of the family died, and the story ends with a description of a cheerful walk of the family, who forgot Gregor. Kafka's works were banned by both the Nazis and the Soviet regime. Even in his native Czechoslovakia it was not published. The fact is that the author worked exclusively in German, refusing to use his native language.
"Lolita", Vladimir Nabokov (1955). This novel is Nabokov's calling card. The book tells the story of a mature man and his painful passion for young girls, nymphets. Humbert Humbert became interested in 12-year-old Lolita, the daughter of a widow. To satisfy his passion, he married the girl's mother. When a woman dies, nothing prevents Humbert from satisfying his passion. He began traveling with Lolita, staying at random motels and having sex. Nabokov's book was shocking. The editor of Sunday Express called it the dirtiest ever read. The publishing house considered the print run as pornographic, having completely withdrawn it. The next year, the book was banned in France, in England the ban was in effect from 1955 to 1959, and in South Africa from 1974-1982. Hunted "Lolita" in Argentina and New Zealand. But in the US, "Lolita" was published without problems. The scandal brought fame to the book, and the author himself a large income.