As you might have already heard, it’s Banned Books Week, and booksellers, librarians, and literary critics of all kinds are taking the opportunity to celebrate their favorite once-banned (or oft-banned) literature. But what do the authors themselves have to say about all this? After the jump, we’ve collected a few of our favorite hilarious responses from authors when their books were banned or challenged — because when there’s a challenge, why not challenge right back? Click through to hear what visionaries like Mark Twain, Harper Lee, and Maurice Sendak have to say to those who would deprive the world of their books, and let us know if we missed any choice quotes in the comments.
Mark Twain to his editor on the Concord Public Library banning The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1885:
“Apparently, the Concord library has condemned Huck as ‘trash and only suitable for the slums.’ This will sell us another twenty-five thousand copies for sure!”
And to a librarian on the Brooklyn Public Library’s ban on the same book in 1905:
“I am greatly troubled by what you say. I wrote ‘Tom Sawyer’ & ‘Huck Finn’ for adults exclusively, & it always distressed me when I find that boys and girls have been allowed access to them. The mind that becomes soiled in youth can never again be washed clean. I know this by my own experience, & to this day I cherish an unappeased bitterness against the unfaithful guardians of my young life, who not only permitted but compelled me to read an unexpurgated Bible through before I was 15 years old. None can do that and ever draw a clean sweet breath again on this side of the grave.”