Book banning, burning and censorship has been practiced for centuries. How a society or individual interprets the meaning and content of a novel is subjective. Sometimes translation can get lost, words might become misconstrued and emotions and reactions are capable of escalating. Combined, all of these elements lend themselves to sparking debates on the banning of books.
A prevalent area connected to book bans is the education sector. Parents, faculty and school administrators have strong opinions and views about what students should be allowed to study.
Although Banned Books Week ended in September, it’s never too late to celebrate the freedom to read and support creative expression. The book torrents below are believed to be available in the public domain and in book torrent format through the InternetArchive.org and OpenLibrary.com.
Banned book torrents
1. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe
The historical depiction of the treatment of black slaves in the US has put this book on many country’s banned lists. Use of derogatory language made the state of Illinois ban it in 1984.
2. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
In 1961 and 1977, parents and school administrators in the state of Michigan declared this book “pornographic and obscene” and objected its inclusion in the school curriculum because of the “involvement in fornication.”
3. Red Badge Of Courage, Stephen Crane
Bay County School Board officials in Florida cited heavy use of vulgarity and frequent mentions of the curse “goddamn” as reason for this book’s ban in 1987.
4. Leaves Of Grass, Walt Whitman
Frequently banned for its homoerotic overtones and sensuality, many schools districts have prohibited this book from their curriculums.
5. The Jungle, Upton Sinclair
Perceived as a novel that skews toward socialist views and less toward the industrial revolution’s notorious muckracking actions, this book has been banned in Boston and Chicago for exposing the condition and treatment of immigrants.
6. Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Praise and banned for its portrayal of Civil War life in the South this book has been described as having an optimistic view of slavery. In 1978, it was banned Union High School District in Anaheim, California.
7. The Call Of The Wild, Jack London
This book has been questioned for its age-appropriate content and because of its violent and bloody storyline. It has been banned and burned.
8. Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
If there’s a first place for banned books then this one takes the cake. Language, racial insensitivity and general characterization of oppression continue to stoke the debate fires around this novel.
9. The Awakening, Kate Chopin
An unhappy marriage, rejection of social norms and sexual liberation, among other things, equal banishment from high school syllabi for this book. Heavy censorship has also been applied to Chopin’s story.
10. Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare
A school district in Merrimack, New Hampshire banned this play about mistaken identity. The cross-dressing among characters was in direct violation of the ‘alternative lifestyle instruction’ policy for the school.
11. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
Labeled as both indecent and obscene, among other things, Flaubert himself was taken to Parisian court for offending public morality with this book. The National Organization of Decent Literature blacklisted the novel in the US in 1954.
12. Ulysses, James Joyce
Clocking in with nearly 800 pages, reading this book is an adventure in itself. Mentions of masturbation and sexual promiscuity have yielded bans for decades on grounds that it may cause readers to retain ‘impure and lustful thoughts’.
13. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
One of the best selling novels of all time it’s tough to imagine why a story about a horse set in England would make the banned book list. Because the title contains the word ‘black’ some governments deemed it offensive.
Did your school ban any books from the learning curriculum? How do you feel about banning books or censoring them?
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