Origins | Summer 2014

Page 26


Banned Books Karen Meza Cherit World events shape the future of individuals and nations, but known events become written history (taught to developing minds). One event in particular marked the future of literature and thus changed history: the Holy Inquisition. Before the secularisation of nations, people lived under the authority of the Roman Catholic Church, which decided what the world could and could not know. In Spain, heracy had zero tolerance. Around the fifteenth century, the Holy Inquisition banned all books that were believed to go against religion or may have encouraged society to practice witchcraft. Though centuries have passed, the idea of banning books continues. If a book’s content is seen as detrimental to the regime in power, it is banned. If a book expresses a socially or culturally unaccepted thought, it is banned. Different ideologies, political views, and religious beliefs continue to remove books from the eager eyes of the learned and ignorant alike. Many of the books listed here were published at a point in time when, or in a place where they were not appreciated or understood for their social and cultural significance. But the banning of literature, through history, both past and present, has had unexpected effects: the wetting of the intellectual appetite. Each year, more people take interest in those books that are kept from them, to learn, and to access their forbidden secrets. u

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll When: 1931 Where: China Why: Contradicted natural laws and children could regard humans and animals on the same level.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov When: 1950s - 1960s Where: Argentina, Canada, France, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom Why: Corruption of minors with erotic content.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley When: 1932; 1967 Where: Ireland; India Why: First in Ireland followed by India for taboo subjects including contraception, drugs, pornography, sexuality, and suicide.

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