Monday, October 25, 2010

Banned Book week

So the last week of September (I believe) was banned book week. Things can get busy around here, and I'm not able to read everything I would like. I have attempted to read some of the classics over the years. Banned book week was a great incentive for me. Of course I didn't select just one book, but I plan on attempting some in the next few months.

I hope to read them and review them here. Here is a link to why some of the books were banned.  Note that Ulysses doesn't have any explanation for being challenged.  I do find that process fascinating - why some books were seen as immoral or dangerous that seem rather tame now**. (I'm thinking specifically of D.H. Lawrence).

The first novel I've finished is Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neale Hurston. The dialogue was difficult to get through at times, I think this is a book to read out loud (much like Shakespeare). I do think Janie (the main character) was a feminist character. I can't explain why this book was banned - the only thing I can think of is some of the descriptions of rape near the beginning - the descriptions were not graphic. They were matter of fact - not a central point of the book - merely revealing Janie's past (and that of her family). Her grandmother was a slave - I wouldn't think that would cause the book to be banned. Evidently the novel was sexually explicit. 

Books I am attempting:

* The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway (burned in Nazi Germany according to the above website.  I would not have assumed that given where I'm at in the novel so far. 1933.)
* Ulysses, by James Joyce (wish me luck, I'm attempting this one over the holidays)
* Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
* An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser (Also burned in Nazi Germany and banned due to "low love affairs".)
* Rabbit, Run, by John Updike

**Honestly, it is amazing that some of these books were burned.  I wonder if the German language or English language version  were burned.  And what an interesting thing to look back on, now - almost a badge of honor to have your work burned in Germany.  I suspect the authors weren't thrilled by it at the time (I love Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s description/opinion of censorship...)

1 comment:

Freckle Face Girl said...

It is quite interesting what is considered worthy of being banned at any given time. There is nothing as intriguing as something that is deemed forbidden.

Hmmm... I am suddenly hungry for fruit. :)