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Banned Books

Challenged and Banned Books - Reasons Why These Famous Novels Were Removed


11. Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451
Simon & Schuster
Fahrenheit 451 is about book burning and censorship (the title refers to the temperature at which paper burns), but the topic hasn't saved the book from its own experience with controversy and censorship. Several words and phrases (for example, "hell" and "damn") in the book have been deemed inappropriate and/or objectionable.
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12. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

Grapes of Wrath
Grapes of Wrath is a great American epic novel by John Steinbeck. Grapes of Wrath depicts the journey of a family from the Dust Bowl Oklahoma to California in search for a new life. Because of its vivid portrayal of a family during the Great Depression, the novel is often used in American literature and history classrooms. The book has been banned and challenged for "vulgar" language. Parents have also objected to "inappropriate sexual references."
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13. Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift

Gulliver's Travels
W.W. Norton & Co.
Gulliver's Travels is a famous satirical novel by Jonathan Swift, but the work has also been banned for the displays of madness, the public urination, and other controversial topics. Here, we are transported to through the dystopian experiences of Lemuel Gulliver, as he sees giants, talking horses, cities in the sky, and much more. The book was originally censored because of the politically sensitive references Swift makes in his novel. Gulliver's Travels was also banned in Ireland for being "wicked and obscene." William Mackpiece Thackeray said of the book that it was "horrible, shameful, blasphemous, filthy in word, filthy in thought."

14. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Bantam Books
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is an autobiographical novel Maya Angelou. The book is often banned on sexual grounds (specifically, the book mentions her rape, when she was a young girl). In Kansas, parents attempted to ban the book, based on the "vulgar language, sexual explicitness, or violent imagery that is gratuitously employed." I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a coming of age story--packed with unforgettable poetic passages.
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15. James and the Giant Peach - Roald Dahl

James and the Giant Peach
James and the Giant Peach is a famous work by Roald Dahl. This book has been frequently challenged and banned for its content, including the abuse that James experiences. Others have claimed that the book promotes alcohol and drug use, that it contains inappropriate language, and that it encourages disobedience to parents.

16. Lady Chatterley's Lover - D.H. Lawrence

Lady Chatterley's Lover
Signet Classics
Published in 1928, D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover has been banned for its sexually explicit nature. Lawrence wrote three versions of the novel.
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17. Light in the Attic - Shel Silverstein

A Light in the Attic
A Light in the Attic is a book that's been beloved by young and old. The book is by Shel Silverstein. It has been banned because of "suggestive illustrations." One library also claimed that the book "glorified Satan, suicide and cannibalism, and also encouraged children to be disobedient."
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18. Lord of the Flies - William Golding

The Lord of the Flies
The Lord of the Flies is a novel by William Golding. Before the book was finally published, it was turned down by more than 20 publishers. The book is about a group of school boys who create their own civilization. Despite the fact that The Lord of the Flies was a bestseller, the novel has been banned and challenged--based on the "excessive violence and bad language." For his body of work, William Golding received the Nobel Prize for literature and he was knighted.
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19. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary
Oxford University Press
Published in 1857, Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary was banned on sexual grounds. In the trial, Imperial Advocate Ernest Pinard said, "No gauze for him, no veils--he gives us nature in all her nudity and crudity." Madame Bovary is a woman full of dreams--without any hope of finding a reality that will fulfill her hopes. She marries a provincial doctor, tries to find love in all the wrong places, and eventually brings about her own ruination. In the end, she escapes in the only way she knows how. This novel is an exploration of the life of a woman who dreams too large. Here adultery and other actions have been controversial.

20. Moll Flanders - Daniel Defoe

Moll Flanders
Oxford University Press
Published in 1722, Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders was one of the earliest novels. The book dramatically depicts the life and misadventures of a young girl, who becomes a prostitute. The book has been challenged on sexual grounds.
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