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It may sound shocking, but even in this current age, books are banned all around the globe, but what makes a book inappropriate, even dangerous, for public consumption, and who has the power to deem it so? Some governments ban books as a form of censorship. Even schools can ban books they consider too racy or inappropriate for their students. Does banning books take away our liberties, attempt to erase history, and impose an agenda? Or is the practice actually in our best interests, depending on the circumstance? This balanced volume examines this surprisingly nuanced issue.
Since the first edition was published to acclaim and awards in 1994, librarians have relied on the work of noted intellectual freedom authority Herbert N. Foerstel. This expanded edition presents a thorough analysis of the current state of book banning in schools and public libraries, offering ready reference material on major incidents, legal cases, and annotated entries on the most frequently challenged books. Every section of this work has been significantly rewritten, updated, or expanded to reflect those developments. In-depth accounts of three new landmark book banning incidents are featured, along with a discussion of recent Supreme Court decisions involving censorship on the Internet and in book publishing, and a consideration of their implications for book banning in schools and public libraries.
This absorbing history by a brilliant scholar and writer deepens our understanding of how censorship works. With his uncanny ability to spark life in the past, Robert Darnton re-creates three historical worlds in which censorship shaped literary expression in distinctive ways. In eighteenth-century France, censors, authors, and booksellers collaborated in making literature by navigating the intricate culture of royal privilege. Even as the king's censors outlawed works by Voltaire, Rousseau, and other celebrated Enlightenment writers, the head censor himself incubated Diderot's great Encyclopedie by hiding the banned project's papers in his Paris townhouse. Relationships at court trumped principle in the Old Regime. Shaken by the Sepoy uprising in 1857, the British Raj undertook a vast surveillance of every aspect of Indian life, including its literary output. Years later the outrage stirred by the British partition of Bengal led the Raj to put this knowledge to use. Seeking to suppress Indian publications that it deemed seditious, the British held hearings in which literary criticism led to prison sentences. Their efforts to meld imperial power and liberal principle fed a growing Indian opposition. In Communist East Germany, censorship was a component of the party program to engineer society. Behind the unmarked office doors of Ninety Clara-Zetkin Street in East Berlin, censors developed annual plans for literature in negotiation with high party officials and prominent writers. A system so pervasive that it lodged inside the authors' heads as self-censorship, it left visible scars in the nation's literature. By rooting censorship in the particulars of history, Darnton's revealing study enables us to think more clearly about efforts to control expression past and present.
Though literature and censorship have been conceived as long-time adversaries, this collection seeks to understand the degree to which they have been dialectical terms, each producing the other, coeval and mutually constitutive. On the one hand, literary censorship has been posited as not only inescapable but definitive, even foundational to speech itself. One the other, especially after the opening of the USSR's spekstrahn, those enormous collections of literature forbidden under the Soviets, the push to redefine censorship expansively has encountered cogent criticism. Scholars describing the centralised control of East German print publication, for example, have wanted to insist on the difference of pre-publication state censorship from more mundane forms of speech regulation in democracies. Work on South African apartheid censorship and book banning in colonial countries also demonstrates censorship's formative role in the institutional structures of literature beyond the metropole. Censorship and the Limits of the Literary examines these and other developments across twelve countries, from the Enlightenment to the present day, offering case studies from the French revolution to Internet China. Is literature ever without censorship? Does censorship need the literary? In a globalizing era for culture, does censorship represent the final, failed version of national control?
Censored & Banned Literature examines the wide range of important literary texts that have been subjected to censorship, either at the time of their first publication, later in their history, or both. Because important works frequently offer challenging responses to social, historical, and political issues, often it is the very best works that provoke - at least initially - the most hostility or discomfort. This volume includes The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain (1884), The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger (1951) and Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987).
Throughout history, tyrants, totalitarian states, church institutions, and democratic governments alike have banned books that challenged their beliefs or questioned their activities. Political censorship was even applied to ancient Greek dramas during the Nazi occupation in 1942. Political suppression also occurs in the name of security and the safeguarding of official secrets, and is often used as a weapon in larger cultural or political battles. Such censorship has affected every form of writing. ""Literature Suppressed on Political Grounds, Revised Edition"" illustrates the extent and frequency of political censorship of many kinds of literature.
Censorship of religious and philosophical speculation is as old as history and as current as today's headlines. Many of the world's major religious texts, including the Bible, the Talmud, the Koran, and others, have been suppressed, condemned, or proscribed at some time. Works of secular literature touching upon religious belief or reflecting dissenting views have also been suppressed. Literature Suppressed on Religious Grounds, Revised Edition profiles the censorship of many such essential works of civilization.
When Leo Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata was banned from distribution through the mail (except for first class) in 1890, New York street vendors began selling it from pushcarts carrying large signs reading Suppressed In 1961, the United States Supreme Court pondered whether D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover was lewd or literary, but in 1969, the novel was required reading in many college literature courses. Changing sexual mores have moved many formerly forbidden books out of locked cabinets and into libraries and classrooms. Literature Suppressed on Sexual Grounds, Revised Edition examines the issues underlying the suppression of more than 100 works deemed sexually obscene.
Literature Suppressed on Social Grounds, Revised Edition discusses writings that have been banned over the centuries because they offended or merely ignored official truths; challenged widely held assumptions; or contained ideas or language unacceptable to a state, religious institution, or private moral watchdog.
Intellectual freedom is a core value of librarianship, but fighting to keep controversial materials on the shelves can sometimes feel like a lonely battle. And not all censorship controversies involve the public objecting to a book in the collection--libraries are venues for displays and meetings, and sometimes library staff themselves are tempted to preemptively censor a work. Those facing censorship challenges can find support and inspiration in this book, which compiles dozens of stories from library front lines. Edifying and enlightening, this collection * Tells the stories of librarians who withstood difficult circumstances to champion intellectual freedom * Touches on prickly issues such as age-appropriateness, some librarians' temptation to preemptively censor, sensitive cultural expressions, and criminality in the library * Presents case studies of defenses that were unsuccessful, so librarians facing similar challenges can learn from these defeats There are fewer situations more stressful in a librarian's professional life than being personally confronted with a demand to remove a book from the shelves or not knowing how to respond to other kinds of censorship challenges. Reading this book will help fortify and inform those in the fray.
Focusing on the attempted and successful banning of young adult fiction from media centers and classrooms, this book treats the legal and experiential history of censorship in libraries and public schools. It also looks closely at young adult novels from the early 1970s until today that have been the subject of book challenges. The authors discussed include Judy Blume, S.E. Hinton, Chris Crutcher, Jean Craighead George, M.E. Kerr, Mildred Taylor, and Sherman Alexie. This book offers parents, teachers and librarians arguments against censorship based on literary merit and societal benefit.
Few books have caused as big a stir as John Steinbeck'sThe Grapes of Wrath, when it was published in April 1939. By May, it was the nation's number one bestseller, but in Kern County, California--the Joads' newfound home--the book was burned publicly and banned from library shelves.Obscene in the Extreme tells the remarkable story behind this fit of censorship. When W. B. "Bill" Camp, a giant cotton and potato grower, presided over its burning in downtown Bakersfield, he declared: "We are angry, not because we were attacked but because we were attacked by a book obscene in the extreme sense of the word." But Gretchen Knief, the Kern County librarian, bravely fought back. "If that book is banned today, what book will be banned tomorrow?" Obscene in the Extreme serves as a window into an extraordinary time of upheaval in America--a time when, as Steinbeck put it, there seemed to be "a revolution . . . going on."
The director of the famed Bodleian Libraries at Oxford narrates the global history of the willful destruction--and surprising survival--of recorded knowledge over the past three millennia. Libraries and archives have been attacked since ancient times but have been especially threatened in the modern era. Today the knowledge they safeguard faces purposeful destruction and willful neglect; deprived of funding, libraries are fighting for their very existence. Burning the Books recounts the history that brought us to this point. Richard Ovenden describes the deliberate destruction of knowledge held in libraries and archives from ancient Alexandria to contemporary Sarajevo, from smashed Assyrian tablets in Iraq to the destroyed immigration documents of the UK Windrush generation. He examines both the motivations for these acts--political, religious, and cultural--and the broader themes that shape this history. He also looks at attempts to prevent and mitigate attacks on knowledge, exploring the efforts of librarians and archivists to preserve information, often risking their own lives in the process. More than simply repositories for knowledge, libraries and archives inspire and inform citizens. In preserving notions of statehood recorded in such historical documents as the Declaration of Independence, libraries support the state itself. By preserving records of citizenship and records of the rights of citizens as enshrined in legal documents such as the Magna Carta and the decisions of the US Supreme Court, they support the rule of law. In Burning the Books, Ovenden takes a polemical stance on the social and political importance of the conservation and protection of knowledge, challenging governments in particular, but also society as a whole, to improve public policy and funding for these essential institutions.
100 Banned Books profiles well-known, often classic works that have been censored for religious, political, social or sexual reasons. Each entry gives readers a summary of the work, its censorship history and suggestions for further reading.
A historical survey of the destruction of knowledge from ancient Babylon and China to modern times * Includes the three separate destructions of the Library of Alexandria as well as many equally significant collections around the world * Examines the causes of violence directed at repositories of knowledge * Looks at the dangers posed by digitalization of books to the free availability of knowledge in the future Hebrew, Hindu, Nordic, and Islamic traditions share the belief of a vast library existing before the creation of the world. The Vedas say that this library predated the creator's creation of himself. Yet, almost as old as the idea of the library is the urge to destroy it. The reasons cited for this are many: educated people are much harder to govern, and some proclaim that only the illiterate can save the world. There are also great destructions brought about by weather, worms, and even the paranoia of the library's owner. Books on Fire traces the history of this perpetual destruction from the burning of the great library of Alexandria (on three separate occasions) and the libraries of the Chinese Qing Dynasty to more modern catastrophic losses such as those witnessed in Nazi-occupied Europe and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The author examines the causes for these disasters, the treasures that have been lost, and where the surviving books, if any, have ended up. His investigation also reveals a new danger facing libraries today with the digitalization of books threatening both the existence of the physical paper book and the very idea of reading for free. The promise of an absolute library offered by the computer may well turn out to equal the worst nightmares of Ray Bradbury, Aldous Huxley, and George Orwell.
Like every totalitarian regime, Nazi Germany tried to control intellectual freedom by censoring books. Between 1933 and 1945, the Hitler regime orchestrated a massive campaign to take control of all forms of communication. In 1933, there were 90 book burnings in 70 German cities. Indeed, Werner Schlegel, an official in the Ministry of Propaganda, called the book burnings "a symbol of the revolution." In later years, the regime used less violent means of domination. It pillaged bookstores and libraries and prosecuted uncooperative publishers and dissident authors. In Harmful and Undesirable, Guenter Lewy analyzes the various strategies that the Nazis employed to enact censorship and the government officials who led the attack on a free intellectual life, including Martin Bormann, Philipp Bouhler, Joseph Goebbels, and Alfred Rosenberg. The Propaganda Ministry played a leading role in the censorship campaign, supported by an array of organizations at both the state and local levels. Because of the many overlapping jurisdictions and organizations, censorship was disorderly and erratic. Beyond the implementation of censorship, Lewy describes the plight of authors, publishers, and bookstores who clashed with the Nazi regime. Some authors were imprisoned. Others, such as Gottfried Benn, Werner Bergengruen, Gerhart Hauptmann, Ernst J#65533;nger, Jochen Klepper, and Ernst Wiechert, became controversial "inner emigrants" who chose to remain in Germany. Some of them criticized the Nazi regime through allegories and parables. Ultimately, Lewy paints a fascinating portrait of intellectual life under the Nazi dictatorship, detailing the dismal fate of those who were caught in the wheels of censorship.
Updated for the first time since 2005, this indispensable volume includes the most up-to-date intellectual freedom guidelines, policies, and interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights, including Newly amended and updated policies.
Censorship has been an ongoing phenomenon even in "the land of the free." This examination of banned books across U.S. history examines the motivations and effects of censorship, shows us how our view of right and wrong has evolved over the years, and helps readers to understand the tremendous importance of books and films in our society. Books ranging from classics such as A Farewell to Arms, Lord of the Rings, The Catcher in the Rye, and The Color Purple as well as best-selling books such as Are You There, God? It's Me Margaret, titles in the Harry Potter series, and various books by bestselling novelist Stephen King have all been on the banned books list. What was the content that got them banned, who wanted them banned, and did the ban have the desired effect of minimizing the number of people who read the title--or did it have the opposite effect, inadvertently creating an even larger readership for the book? Silenced in the Library: Banned Books in America provides a comprehensive examination of the challenges to major books as well as the final results of these selections being deemed "unfit for public consumption." Included in its discussion are explanations of the true nature of the objections along with the motives of the authors, publishers, and major proponents of the books. Content is organized based on why the books were banned, such as sexual content, drug use, or religious objections. This approach helps readers to see trends in how people have approached the challenge of evaluating what is "proper" and shows how our societal consensus of what is acceptable has evolved over the years. Readers will come away with a fuller appreciation of the immense power of words on a page--or an eReader device--to inflame and outrage, influence opinion, incite thought, and even change the course of history. Provides readers with a broad understanding of the different levels of censorship Puts challenges to books into historical context of societal standards and current events Takes both historical and literary perspectives, recognizing the lasting cultural influences of texts and their literary significance Presents biographical background of major authors who have been challenged Identifies the source and explains the result of challenges to the most important or influential banned books Compares challenges to controversial books against similar challenges to controversial films, television shows, and video games
A product of 10 years' research and support from leading American and European universities, A Universal History of the Destruction of Books traces the tragic story which encapsulates: the smashed tablets of ancient Sumer; the widespread looting of libraries in post-war Iraq; the levelling of the Library of Alexandria; the burning of books by Crusaders and Nazis; and censorship against authors. With diligence and grace, Baez mounts a compelling investigation into the motives behind such destruction and the perverse 'anti-creationism' which it embodies.
By turns fascinating, harrowing, yet ultimately uplifting, this is the story of the Nazis' systematic pillaging of Europe's libraries, and the heroic efforts of the few librarians now working to return the stolen books to their owners.In the wake of one of History's most expansive cultural crimes, Anders Rydell shows just how much a single book can mean to those who own it.
Requests for the removal, relocation, and restriction of books--also known as challenges--occur with some frequency in the United States. Book Banning in 21st-Century American Libraries, based on thirteen contemporary book challenge cases in schools and public libraries across the United States argues that understanding contemporary reading practices, especially interpretive strategies, is vital to understanding why people attempt to censor books in schools and public libraries. Previous research on censorship tends to focus on legal frameworks centered on Supreme Court cases, historical case studies, and bibliographies of texts that are targeted for removal or relocation and is often concerned with how censorship occurs. The current project, on the other hand, is focused on the why of censorship and posits that many censorship behaviors and practices, such as challenging books, are intimately tied to the how one understands the practice of reading and its effects on character development and behavior. It discusses reading as a social practice that has changed over time and encompasses different physical modalities and interpretive strategies. In order to understand why people challenge books, it presents a model of how the practice of reading is understood by challengers including "what it means" to read a text, and especially how one constructs the idea of "appropriate" reading materials. The book is based on three different kinds sources. The first consists of documents including requests for reconsideration and letters, obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests to governing bodies, produced in the course of challenge cases. Recordings of book challenge public hearings constitute the second source of data. Finally, the third source of data is interviews with challengers themselves. The book offers a model of the reading practices of challengers. It demonstrates that challengers are particularly influenced by what might be called a literal "common sense" orientation to text wherein there is little room for polysemic interpretation (multiple meanings for text). That is, the meaning of texts is always clear and there is only one avenue for interpretation. This common sense interpretive strategy is coupled with what Cathy Davidson calls "undisciplined imagination" wherein the reader is unable to maintain distance between the events in a text and his or her own response. These reading practices broaden our understanding of why people attempt to censor books in public institutions.
Pat Scales has been a passionate advocate for intellectual freedom long before she launched the "Scales on Censorship" column with School Library Journal in 2006. Decades of experience as a school librarian informs her ongoing work on these important and often volatile issues, as did her tenure in leadership roles on the American Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Committee and at the Freedom To Read Foundation. It also earned her a place among the inaugural list of Library Journal's Movers & Shakers in 2002. Since her first column for SLJ she has been in an ongoing conversation of sorts with librarians, teachers, and parents--a much needed conversation. This collection of the wide-ranging questions from readers and Scales' informative answers are gathered in broad thematic groups to help readers explore the all-too daily reality of confronting efforts to censor, ban, or otherwise limit open and ready access to materials in our schools and libraries. They were all written in response to active book challenges or questions of intellectual freedom and library ethics. These columns have a ripped from the headlines immediacy even as they reflect the core values and policies of librarianship. They are organized by topic and each is framed with a brief new introductory essay. Scales' powerful reputation and practical ethically-based solutions has made her a key spokesperson and support for librarians working under a censorship siege. Her passionate, unwavering voice provides valuable strategic and tactical approaches to censorship, fine-tuned insight into individual books often challenged, and critical moral support for managing trying conversations. Scales is focused throughout on fostering a culture that embraces and understands the importance of intellectual freedom, and the tools to make it a reality every day in our libraries, schools, and communities. Learn from her to build a background in the ethics involved in defending intellectual freedom and lean on her for insights into real-life situations. Scales on Censorship is an essential ally in the ongoing fight.