Throughout the centuries and around the world, governments banned books for political, ideological and religious reasons, curbing freedom and creativity. After a quick search online, I discovered that at least seven of the books that I remember reading were banned in some countries at specific points in time.
1984 by George Orwell
This dystopian novel was banned in the Soviet Union, since Stalin considered it to be a satire of his leadership. It is set in a time of permanent war, government surveillance and public manipulation. There is only one party that is personified in the Big Brother. In this context, Winston, a rewriter of historical events, has an affair with Julia, who opposes the party.
Banned in South Africa during the Apartheid, this classic delves into how a creator deals with the destructive actions of his creation, while making interesting observations on discrimination and economic inequality. Readers follow what happens after Victor Frankenstein manages to animate lifeless matter and the creature born of that experiment doesn’t meet his expectations.
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
This French classic was banned during the ‘Estado Novo’ autocratic regime in Portugal. The main character, Emma, likes reading popular novels and craves a life of luxury. After marrying Charles, she becomes awfully bored, reason why she starts leading an incautious lifestyle.
Felizmente Há Luar! by Luís de Sttau Monteiro
This theatre play, inspired by a failed liberal revolution in 1817, was also banned during the fascist dictatorship in Portugal, since the author’s main purpose was to delve into political repression and persecution.
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
Banned during the Pinochet’s regime in Chile, this novel focuses on four generations of the Trueba family. It features plenty of magical realism elements and covers various Chilean political upheavals.
Formerly banned in the province of Hunan in China, this is probably one of the most famous children’s books. Alice falls into a rabbit hole and discovers a world full of strange creatures and speaking animals. All seem to be quite mad. Although it’s undoubtedly inventive, I didn’t enjoy it that much, to be honest.
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Despite not remembering anything about this book, I’m pretty sure that I read it. It was banned in September 2004 in Lebanon after Catholic leaders considered it offensive. After a quick search on Google, the only thing I can tell you about it is that “symbologist” Robert Langdon and cryptologist Sophie Neveu become embroiled in a conflict between the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei after a murder takes place in the Louvre Museum.
Have you read any of these books? Which other banned books have you read? Tell me in the comments!