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Banned Books Around the World

August 17, 2017
by Anna Veltri , Emmetsburg News

This week I started reading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. This book has been highly debated throughout its history because of the themes presented in the book; it was at one time known as a banned book. I looked into other books that are often held in high-regard in the United States that have been banned from education systems and countries as a whole. Below are some of the books that have shaped our culture and the reasons that they were at one point banned by entire countries:

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll- first published in 1865: "Formerly banned in the province of Hunan, China, beginning in 1931, for its portrayal of anthropomorphized animals acting on the same level of complexity as human beings. The censor General Ho Chien believed that attributing human language to animals was an insult to humans. He feared that the book would teach children to regard humans and animals on the same level, which would be 'disastrous'" (

Animal Farm by George Orwell- first published in 1945. This novel is a criticism of communism- "everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others." "Completed in 1943, Orwell found that no publisher would print the book, due to its criticism of the USSR, an important ally of Britain in the War. Once published, the book was banned in the USSR and other communist countries. The book is still banned in North Korea, and censored in Vietnam" (

The Bible- "At present, the Bible is banned or greatly restricted in a number of countries including North Korea. Historically, some countries banned the Bible in certain languages or versions. The Bible in Spanish was prohibited in Spain from the sixteenth until the nineteenth century. In 1234, King James I of Aragon ordered the burning of Bibles in the vernacular. In 2015, Russia banned import of the Jehovah's Witnessess' New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures." (

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak- "Banned in the Soviet Union until 1988 for criticizing life in Russia after the Russian Revolution. When its author, Boris Pasternak, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958 he was forced to reject it under government pressure" (

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley first published in 1818 was banned by South African Apartheid because it contained "obscene or indecent material"

Green Eggs and Ham first published in 1960 by Dr. Seuss was banned in the People's Republic of China "for its portrayal of early Marxism. The ban was lifted in 1991 following Seuss' death"

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson was banned under South American Apartheid.

1984 by George Orwell was banned in the Soviet Union because Stalin recognized that the novel was a satire based on his leadership. The ban was not lifted until 1990. The United States and the UK considered banning the book during the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s.

By nature, I am a reader. I am so thankful to live in a society that allows me to read whatever book I choose. Not only that, but I am grateful for the access to literature that we are provided.




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