Monday, October 1, 2012

Banned Books

"As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master."   ---Commissioner Pravin Lal, "Alpha Centauri"

Heavy stuff, and topical as ever what with this week being Banned Books Week, that tract of time where everyone across the globe bites their thumb at censorship in our schools, our libraries, and our bookstores. With that in mind, here are a couple of our current offerings that you may never have known were banned at one point in history.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll -- Carroll's timeless tale of childhood whimsy and logic run amok was forbidden in the Hunan province of China in 1931, since the government believed that the notion of animals speaking like humans was potentially dangerous to the fragile-minded youth. The book would teach children to equate common animals with humans, an apparently insufferable idea. 

Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert -- For scenes of adultery and other various "obscenities," Flaubert's masterpiece was literally put on trial, just months after the work was published in a French literary magazine. Flaubert was later acquitted, and legal battles aside, the entire situation was excellent PR for his classic, and may have contributed to its smashing success after the whole thing was bound into a singular tome.

For these literary outlaws and more, ask us for lists before the censors get to them first.

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