The history of book banning reflects the history of social fear. From political dissidence to obscenity to excessive realism, the reasons for literary censorship tend to reflect a residing (or self-appointed) authority’s narrow analysis on behalf of everyone apparently incapable of passing judgment for themselves. Although some censoring rationales simply dissipate with time, other explanations for a book’s unfitting nature remain too absurd to ignore. To coincide with Banned Books Week 2010, here’s a sample of classic books that were censored for particularly ridiculous reasons.
Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
Like most contentious fiction, Brave New World features a compelling cocktail of sex, drugs, and social satire. But, despite the book’s stunning originality, its objectors have been impressively (even hilariously) generic in their criticisms. It was banned in Ireland in 1932 for being, among other things, “anti-family” (because, you know, artificial sex hormones, sedatives, and porn are all the stuff of science fiction fantasy), and, as recently as 1993, parents unsuccessfully campaigned for it to be removed from a required reading list because it “centered around negative activity.”