Banned books: a top five

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 September, 2013, 3:26pm

Lady Chatterley's Lover

by D.H. Lawrence

Arguably the "poster novel" for all banned literature, the British writer's heady brew of sex, swearing and cross-class erotics was banned in his homeland, until its infamous trial in 1960 captivated the nation. Under the 1959 Obscene Publications Act, it was deemed artistically justified. Cue many more sales.







Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

by Mark Twain

An unlikely if perennial contender for the most challenged novel in American literature. Ernest Hemingway may have declared that "all modern American literature comes from … Huck Finn", but Twain's vulgarity and, more significantly, portrayal of race has inspired vigorous debate. Twain's detractors accuse him of patronising clichés and even racism because of his repeated use of the word "nigger". His defenders argue that he was portraying American prejudice, warts and all.








Alice in Wonderland

by Lewis Carroll

Carroll's masterpiece of children's literature was banned in Hunan province in 1931 because of the way it portrayed animals talking like humans. The Cheshire Cat seems an unlikely enemy of China, but censor Ho Chien was concerned it would cause children to think that animals and humans were equally important.








The Catcher in the Rye

by J.D. Salinger

Salinger's modern classic of teenage disrepute may find favour with America's disreputable teens, but their teachers, parents and religious leaders are not so sure. Sneering phrases such as "all that David Copperfield kind of crap" didn't do his cause much good either.








Border Town

by Shen Congwen

While almost all of Shen's works remain banned in his homeland, his modernist experiments such as Long River or Border Town are seen as classics across the world. His books were condemned and burned in the 1950s and Shen was forced to clean toilets after his attempts to explain his failures as a communist fell on deaf ears. A New York Times obituary noted that his death in 1988 was not reported in China.

James Kidd