From the editors of Penguin Books and Penguin Classics
penguinteen:

It’s Banned Books Week! Celebrate your freedom to read by picking up a banned or challenged book this week. Why do YOU read banned books?

Because classic literature is classic literature!

penguinteen:

It’s Banned Books Week! Celebrate your freedom to read by picking up a banned or challenged book this week. Why do YOU read banned books?

Because classic literature is classic literature!

CLASSIC BANNED BOOKS

In honor of Banned Books Week, we’ve put together a list of now-Classics that were once—or are still—contested, censored, or banned. So below, check out a few historically hackles-raising Penguin Classics that came to mind around the office. And never forget that reading classics can be rebellious. 


The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck’s legendary depiction of Americans struggling for survival during the Great Depression has been burned, banned, and the topic of numerous censorship trials since its publication in 1939. Though the book’s purpose was to illuminate the plight of migrant families, many authorities felt they’d been depicted in an unfair light. The battles over censoring The Grapes of Wrath have been international, including a Turkish trial in which publishers faced up to six months imprisonment for “spreading propaganda unfavorable to the state.”

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
No stranger to ruffled feathers, John Steinbeck’s 1937 novel Of Mice and Men has managed to amass quite an interesting list of enemies. Along with plenty of school curriculum battles, Of Mice and Men was banned in Ireland in 1953 and condemned by a South Carolina chapter of the Klu Klux Klan. Censorship battles over the novel continue even today. 

On The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
Among the most controversial works of modern time, Charles Darwin’s revolutionary work in the natural sciences has been banned on numerous occasions. Dramatized in the 1955 play “Inherent the Wind”, Darwin’s theory of evolution was banned from Tennessee schools for 42 years after the infamous Scopes Trial. And the work continues to be an inflammatory topic in many parts of the world, including the United States. 

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
A title synonymous with investigative journalism, Upton Sinclair turned the meatpacking industry of the early 1900s on its head with his seminal work The Jungle, in which he exposed the mistreatment of immigrant workers and blatant disregard of consumer health. Surprisingly, The Jungle was never suppressed in the United States, but was banned in Yugoslavia and burned by both the Nazis in 1933 and East German communists in 1956. 

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the psychedelic fantasy depicted in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that many parents have found it a questionable story for children, despite its popularity. However, the book’s oddest opponent surfaced in China, when in 1931 a provincial governor was wildly concerned about the effects of animals being depicted speaking human language, describing it as “disastrous.” 

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was making waves in public school districts throughout the country when it first published in 1962. The story of rebellious Randle Patrick Murray as he butts heads with the powerful and manipulative Nurse Ratched in an Oregon mental hospital displayed a scathing critique of institutionalism and the prominent psychology of the time. Fearing the impact the book might have on their children, parents in Colorado attempted to ban the novel from public schools, claiming it “glorifies criminal activity, [and] has a tendency to corrupt juveniles.” In 1986, the book was banned from curricula in Aberdeen, Washington, simply because of its secular humanistic values.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
As a cautionary tale of science and man’s role in the creation of life, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has for the past two centuries found itself at the center of debates over religion and science, its work with these themes resulting in protest from many various Christian groups. Though never governmentally censored in the United States, South Africa banned the novel in 1955 for obscenity. 

The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
William Golding’s 1954 novel The Lord of the Flies has been in the censorship cross-hairs of American parents for decades. Those attempting to ban the book have done so on the grounds that it is excessively violent, racist, and “implies that man is little more than an animal.” But Golding, a schoolteacher himself, wrote the book in response to an 1858 novel by R. M. Ballantyne, TheCoral Island, in which a group of young boys stranded on a desert island get along quite swimmingly. Though Golding enjoyed the book, his experience with schoolchildren led him to take the morality of the situation in…a different direction. 

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
When is a word just a word, and when is it something more? Considered the Great American Novel by many, Mark Twain’s use of racially loaded slurs in his novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been the topic of dozens of censorship battles. A disparaging picture of the antebellum South, Twain’s tale of a young man barreling down the Mississippi with an escaped slave has been among the most polarizing works of literature. First published in 1885, the novel has sparked heated debate over the publication and wider cultural effects of racist slurs. Though many cite context and Twain’s aim of revealing Southern racism as justification of the slang’s use, many advocates of censoring the work have called for select slurs to be replaced with simply “The N-Word.”

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Possibly the most unusual banning of a book on our list, Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty was prohibited in Apartheid South Africa based on a misunderstanding. Though Anna Sewell’s novel champions compassion for all living things, its title was misinterpreted by the white National Party as a novel about a black woman and hence deemed not fit for the public. Naturally, the officials were far too busy to actually read the literature considered unacceptable.


Classic Fridays | The world is full of classics. Every Friday, we close the week with one of our favorites.

(Source: classicpenguin, via classicpenguin)

“Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically.
The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard
work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”

D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover


Monday First Lines | Every Monday, we offer the opening sentences of a Penguin Classic to start the week. In honor of Banned Book Week, here are the first lines of Lawrence’s classic, declared obscene upon publication in 1928 and finally legalized as the result of R v. Penguin Books Ltd. in 1960.

And what be a pirate’s favorite book? ARRRRRRISTOTLE. MARRRRRRCEL PROUST. HANNAH ARRRRRRRENDT.

Ah we jest, ye vagabonds, but arrrrrrrrrrr you in need of a good Talk Like A Pirate Day read?

Listen up buckos! We’ve pillaged across the seven seas to bring you scallywags the best of our buried treasure. So batten down the hatches, because this literary storm is a – brewin’. Landlubbers best be stayin’ on shore, or ye’ll surely walk the plank.

Weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen, here arrrrrrrr some favorites:

CAPTAIN BLOOD by Rafael Sabatini

Blimey! A swashbuckling romp with a buccaneer leader if there ever was one. But aye, he’s a good man through and through, not a bilge-sucking scurvy dog.

ROBINSON CRUSOE by Daniel Defoe

Noble pirates! Warms us to the brisket to see a buccaneer save the day. Dead men tell no tales, and without pirates, Crusoe would be down with Davy Jones today.

TREASURE ISLAND by Robert Louis Stevenson  

Grab yer cutlass: the haunting tale of the “Black Spot” is enough to send shivers down yer’ black spine. And if yer wee lads need a movie that isn’t rated ARRRRRRRRR – Muppet Treasure Island is your booty here.

THE WIDOW CHING – PIRATE – Jorge Luis Borges

Lassies can be pirates too. Borges fictionalizes the tale of  fierce female pirate Ching Shih: “a lady pirate who operated in Asian waters, all the way from the Yellow Sea to the rivers of the Annam coast.” Saavy?

THE THREEPENNY OPERA – Bertolt Brecht

Pour out a grog for Pirate Jenny, me lads! “Kill  them now, or later?”

PETER PAN – J. M. Barry

Avast ye, Hook. Aye. Not for all the doubloons in the South Sea would I stand atop a crow’s nest and look upon the man.

CON MEN AND CUTPURSES – Ed. Lucy Moore

All hands hoay! We’re teamin’ with classic sailors in this one – William Kidd, Blackbeard, John Lancey, Edward Trelawney. And even some of the great lady pirates. Anne Bonny and Mary Read: These beauties be fearsome as the day is long!

Aye aye matey, get off your sea legs, drop anchor, and enjoy these classic stories from the sea. Ahoy me hearties!

(Source: classicpenguin)

“Soon afterward, like figures made of steam, father and son disappear into the crowd of the Ramblas, their steps lost forever in the shadow of the wind.”

Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind


Friday Final Lines | Every Friday, we offer the closing lines of a Penguin Classic to finish up the workweek.

At long last, we reach the end of the alphabet next week. The final Drop Caps go on sale next Wednesday!

“In the sphere of the reality body, a celestial realm primordially free from the clouds of ignorance, your full form body, the sun and moon, radiates enlightened activities, limitless rays of wisdom and love blazing with splendor, beyond the reach of the demon Rahu.”

Tsangnyön Heruka, The Life of Milarepa


Monday First Lines | Every Monday, we offer the opening sentences of a Penguin Classic to start the week.


oddismycopilot:
I love my books: Elizabeth Gaskell. If you like George Eliot, you should definitely check out Elizabeth Gaskell. A contemporary of both Eliot and Dickens, Gaskell likewise wrote about a broad swath of English society, including the working class, the plight of the poor, and labor unrest; her concern about social issues is best demonstrated in Mary Barton and North and South. I consider Wives and Daughters to be quite similar in tone and feel to Middlemarch and very nearly its equal. Cranford, although virtually plotless, is such a charming and gently humorous look at small-town life in mid-19th-century England that it ranks among my all-time fiction favorites.

Happy weekend reading, everyone!

oddismycopilot:

I love my books: Elizabeth Gaskell. If you like George Eliot, you should definitely check out Elizabeth Gaskell. A contemporary of both Eliot and Dickens, Gaskell likewise wrote about a broad swath of English society, including the working class, the plight of the poor, and labor unrest; her concern about social issues is best demonstrated in Mary Barton and North and South. I consider Wives and Daughters to be quite similar in tone and feel to Middlemarch and very nearly its equal. Cranford, although virtually plotless, is such a charming and gently humorous look at small-town life in mid-19th-century England that it ranks among my all-time fiction favorites.

Happy weekend reading, everyone!

(via bookporn)