Forbidden Books and Censorship

“When the Viennese government compiled a Catalogue of Forbidden Books in 1765, so many Austrians used it as a reading guide that the Hapsburg censors were forced to include the Catalogue itself as a forbidden book.” 

(Craig Nelson,    Thomas Paine: Enlightenment, Revolution, and the Birth of Modern Nations)

Here is My Catalogue of Forbidden Books

42 thoughts on “Forbidden Books and Censorship

  1. you hit a hot button for me. thanks for a good read.

  2. Lolita is forbidden omg that book is insane it was given to me as a gift and this is mindblowing to learn, since the book is over the top.

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Trust me, I’ve read more ‘over the top’ things when I was studying pathopsychology and criminal psychology. This book is definitely not for everyone so I’m not surprised with your reaction to it. However I believe that banning such books does more harm than good. It is like hiding your head in a sand -you can’t solve problems by hiding from them or by closing your eyes.

      This book is not banned anymore in most parts of the world.

      • Wow I’m sorry for the exposure your mind has experienced, but at the same time it makes me want to know what did you read so I can experience it a little too. I’m not sure how I feel about it not being banned in certain parts now because that’s a kind set some people do not need to go into for the sake of girls, and children.

      • Otrazhenie says:

        Actually, it was not too bad for me as I never worked in that area. After completing the course, I realised that I would not be able to work as a criminal psychologist. I get easily upset and I would not be able to sleep at all after being exposed to such nasty things. That also made me admire people who are exposed to lots of scary nasty things on every day basis (e.g. police, forensic pathologists and psychologists etc.).

        Couple of months ago I started reading ‘Into the Darklands: Unveiling the Predators among us’ by forensic psychologist Nigel Latta, but still did not finish this book. It is hard to read about such offenders and their crimes, especially when their victims are young children.

        With regard to ‘Lolita’, to understand this book you need to read it to the end. Then you’ll see that at the end of this book the main character realises what a monster he was and how he ruined Lolita’s life. He starts feeling Lolita’s pain. If you read this book to the end, you’ll realise that the main character will never ever do that to anyone again. That’s the key purpose of forensic psychology – to make the offenders feel the pain of their victims so that they would never ever offend anyone again. Therefore I do not believe that this book would ‘set’ someone into that ‘mindset’ – just the opposite, I believe it would put anyone off doing what the main character did by showing how much pain it brought to both the victim and the offender.

      • Omg really thanks for the advice of reading Lolita to the end because I was so angry with the main character thoughts that I didn’t want to finish it.
        I studied psychology of drug abuse and that made me realize that was the field I didn’t want to study in so I can just imagine criminal psychology. I’m glad your found your way. I can only thank you again for inspiring me to read the end of Lolita. I’ll try to find the other book you mentioned hopefully ill run across someone who suggests I read it if its banned. 🙂

      • That’s interesting, Otrazhenie. While my last degree is not exactly like yours, I studied and majored in Criminal Justice. I was 74 then and about to become a mentor/advocate for juvenile delinquent. Cancer stopped me as well as PTSD from being severely bullied after I was assaulted.

        I am with you on banned books, and I have lived through a lot of that in my lifetime too. Can you believe they tried to ban the Nancy Drew series? A young women, self-empowered, driving a car that she owned, and solving mysteries (which life is full of, isn’t it) and interacting and respected by and with others. I wish these people that do this would get a life. They don’t live in our bedrooms, and I suspect that a lot of them are latent voyeurs. They suffer from a lack of experience in everyday life, and believe everything other than missionary position, and then only in the dark, and only for the purpose of creating children. As I have noted many times, children are a love of mine, but I would never let that stop me from reading, believing or doing my own things as an adult with other adults where it is consensual. In Japan, in many places, the whole family bathes together, so the human body is a natural part of living and the people don’t become perverts because of their lifestyle.

        Keep up the great writing. Very inspirational and gives one hope for the times we live in.

      • Otrazhenie says:

        Love your comment, Anne. You are such an inspiring person! ❤️🙂👍

  3. Buddha Datta says:

    How about this? Google “Hidden History of the Human Race.” See

  4. Flora Pan says:

    Thanks for liking my post earlier on my blog about exams 🙂
    I thought this category was interesting and I didn’t know that Lolita was banned! Then again I’m in North America and nothing is forbidden here… I should really try to read it again and get through it this time. I first picked up Lolita when I was younger and I really had trouble with the language that was used. Did you find that it was a satisfying read?

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Yes, I did like reading it, but only when I got a bit older. It did not go down well when I was in my teens – I was lacking maturity and life experience for this book then, I guess. I think this book is not banned anymore, but it was banned in some USA states at the time when it was published. Lots of people completely misinterpreted it at that time. Try reading it – very interested to see what you’ll think about it 🙂

      • Flora Pan says:

        The reason why I had trouble with the language was probably because I was an early teen as well. I’ve been thinking of trying it out again because it might be easier on me now.
        Will let you know how I feel once I’ve read it! 🙂

  5. […] (Craig Nelson,    Thomas Paine: Enlightenment, Revolution, and the Birth of Modern Nations)  (Accessed Online, 11.04.13, […]

  6. Dara says:

    This is brilliant! So typical that controversy always attracts an audience. Plus ca change…

  7. I’ve never read Lolita. I was looking for something to read and will check this out. As well as other books suggested here. Banned books are always the best because they expose the ugly side of human behavior that we’d rather not see. I live in the US, and despite what some people think, there are many banned books in the US. Not banned nation wide necessarily, but banned from school reading lists. Tom Sawyer is always appearing on those lists. We like to pretend no one ever used politically incorrect language.

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Lolita was banned in USA. Not sure whether it is still banned now. I always had a feeling that people, who banned it, never read it to the end. It is impossible to understand this book without reading it to the very last word.

      I’ve heard about Tom Sawyer being banned too – was always puzzled about that, as I loved reading this book as a child. Such books need to be read in their historical context. Mark Twain meant no offence with the language he was using. It was the language the way it was used at that time.Yes, we did move away from that – but pretending that it never existed would be hypocritical.

      Not all banned books expose the ugly side of human behaviour though. Check out ‘Married Love or Love in Marriage” at . ‘Love in marriage’ can hardly be called ‘ugly’. Nevertheless, this book was banned in USA too. The same with James Joyce‘s Ulysses – this list can go on and on and on…. 🙂

      • I love to pick my reading material from the banned books list. I’m amazed to find so many children’s books on the list, like Tom Sawyer, and Judy Bloom books. Worse is banning the books that talk about puberty or family issues. But again, so many of these books are banned from schools only. If you wanted to expose your child to them, you can go to Amazon or B&N and find most of them. The trick now days is just getting your kid to read a book! If it’s not a video game, they’re not interested.

  8. gapark says:

    Love the irony! As a librarian, this is a subject dear to my heart! Thanks for visiting me! Gail at Making Life An Art

  9. Widow Beach says:

    I’m pretty sure “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” was banned in some places–too bad, as I thought it was a fine story well written. And as a teenager it was oh-so exciting.

    • Otrazhenie says:

      You are right. This book could not be published openly in the United Kingdom until 1960.

      • Widow Beach says:

        Wow, 1960!

      • Otrazhenie says:

        Yes, not that long time ago at all. It is amazing how quickly views and perceptions changed since then.

      • Widow Beach says:

        Sometimes it seems 1960 was still in the dark ages–SO MUCH has changed…and yet, we’ve still got a long way to travel, I think.

      • Otrazhenie says:

        Though that was only an unexpurgated edition. A number of editions with ‘omissions’ have been published in UK before 1960s. It would be interesting to compare those editions to see which parts have been omitted 🙂

      • Widow Beach says:

        Yes, I remember there was a lot of hoopla over the 2 separate editions–the funny thing is, that only made folks want to read the unexpurgated one more!! It’s all too stupid.

      • Otrazhenie says:

        That’s what always happens with forbidden books – forbidding them raises their profile as people get more curious to taste the ‘forbidden fruit’ 🙂

      • Widow Beach says:

        Yep. I was fortunate that, despite all their other shortcomings, my parents never censored our reading–we were all avid readers, anything that interested us. The one exception was NO comic books–which was a great rule. I think I was reading Mickey Spillane in junior high–seems crazy now, because it wasn’t great literature, just adult detective novels!

  10. Kye B. says:

    I remember reading The Giver in middle school it’s crazy to think that it’s a banned book! However, a lot of books I grew up reading are banned like Frankenstein, the diary of Anne frank, and uncle tom’s cabin to name a few.

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Books are rarely banned across the whole world. Usually they are banned in a particular country or by a particular political power. Lots of books I enjoyed reading in my childhood were banned in other part of the worlds (e.g. some books of Mark Twain). Which part of the world are you in?

  11. mostdiggity says:

    The Phoenix Project
    Lords of Creation
    Operation Blowback
    Hidden History of Korea
    Underground Palestine
    Behind The Nylon Curtain

    – none of these are in print nor will they be as long as the”powersthat be” have anything to say about the matter. Old copies do exist but can be expensive unless digital.

  12. Being one that writes, not for a living, it is hard enough to get people to read what you write let a lone worry about censorship. (said jokingly) – what is equally as terrifying as book bans is self-censorship for fear of retribution or shunning. Self Honesty is a cornerstone of healthy thinking. If you have an extra blog badge you are not using I could use a couple ! Nice blog.

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Good point about self-censorship, Eric. So often we choose to read books that reaffirm our own views and avoid those that challenge our beliefs. Self honesty is a cornstone of healthy thinking!

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