Along with many libraries around the country, libraries in Westminster are taking part in a Banned Books promotion. You’d be amazed which books have been banned at some point in their history – come and have a look at the selections in our libraries, and let us know what you think!
The picture on the right shows a range of banned books on display in Victoria Library, with details of their banning given.
You can find more information on the Banned Books website. Here are some of our favourites:
Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka
Metamorphosis was banned by both the Soviet and Nazi regimes. Kafka’s story is of a young man who, transformed overnight into a giant beetlelike insect, becomes an object of disgrace to his family, an outsider in his own home, a quintessentially alienated man. It was banned in the Soviet Union for being both decadent and despairing.
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of a mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Despite winning the Nobel Prize for literature, a number of US schools had it excluded from their curricula.
Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
Published in 1945, this book was banned in the USSR until the 1980s for its allegorical depiction of the rise and fall of socialism and Stalin’s totalitarian regime.
Ironically it was also banned in the US for having communist text in the introduction.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
Alice was banned in the province of Hunan, China (1931) for portraying animals acting on the same level as humans. “This is a well known and well loved classic. I chose it because it makes people think about the ideas of freedom of speech and censorship if such an innocent children’s book could be banned.”
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley’s classic 1818 book details a man obsessed with creating life through the reanimation of dead tissue. He succeeds, only to be haunted and tormented by his grotesque creation. Over the past two centuries, the book has been banned for being indecent, objectionable and obscene. Christian groups have protested the book, claiming that it’s in conflict with the principles of their faith.