Top 10 'Obscene' Literary Classics

  1. I put stars by the ones I've read. Which ones have you read?

    1) "Ulysses" (1922) by James Joyce
    When an excerpt from Ulysses was serialized in a 1920 literary magazine, members of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice were shocked by the novel's masturbation scene and took it upon themselves to block U.S. publication of the full work. A trial court reviewed the novel in 1921, found it to be pornographic, and banned it under obscenity laws. The ruling was overturned 12 years later, allowing a U.S. edition to be published in 1934.



    *2) "Lady Chatterley's Lover" (1928) by D.H. Lawrence
    What is now Lawrence's best-known book was just a dirty little secret during his lifetime. Privately printed in 1928 (two years before Lawrence's death), this subversive tale of adultery between a rich woman and her husband's servant went unnoticed until U.S. and UK publishers brought it to press in 1959 and 1960, respectively. Both publications inspired high-profile obscenity trials--and in both cases, the publisher won.
     
  2. * 3) "Madame Bovary" (1857) by Gustave Flaubert
    When excerpts from Flaubert's Madame Bovary were published in 1856 France, law enforcement officials were horrified at Flaubert's (relatively non-explicit) fictional memoir of a physician's adulterous wife. They immediately attempted to block full publication of the novel under France's strict obscenity codes, prompting a lawsuit. Flaubert won, the book went to press in 1857, and the literary world has never been the same since.



    4) "The God of Small Things" (1996) by Arundhati Roy
    The God of Small Things earned the young Indian novelist Roy millions of dollars in royalties, international fame, and the 1997 Booker Prize. It also earned her an obscenity trial. In 1997, she was summoned to India's Supreme Court to defend against a claim that the book's brief and occasional sex scenes, involving a Christian woman and a low-caste Hindu servant, corrupted public morals. She successfully fought the charges, but has yet to write her second novel.
     
  3. 5) "Howl and Other Poems" (1955) by Allen Ginsberg
    "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness...," begins Ginsberg's poem "Howl," which reads like it could be a reasonably good (if unconventional) commencement speech or the world's worst Easter homily. A profane but fairly non-explicit metaphor involving anal penetration--tame by the standards of South Park--earned Ginsberg an obscenity trial in 1957, and transformed him from an obscure Beatnik poet into a revolutionary poet-icon.


    6) "The Flowers of Evil" (1857) by Charles Baudelaire
    Baudelaire didn't believe that poetry has any real didactic value, arging that its purpose is to be, not to say. But to the extent that Flowers of Evil is didactic, it communicates the very old concept of original sin: that the author is depraved, and the horrified reader even more so. The French government charged Baudelaire with "corrupting public morals" and suppressed six of his poems, but they were published nine years later to critical acclaim.
     
  4. 7) "Tropic of Cancer" (1934) by Henry Miller
    "I have made a silent compact with myself," Miller begins, "not to change a line of what I write." Judging by the 1961 obscenity trial that followed U.S. publication of his novel, he meant it. But this semi-autobiographical work (which George Orwell called the greatest novel written in English) is more playful than lurid. Imagine what The Unbearable Lightness of Being might be like if Woody Allen wrote it, and you have the right idea.


    8) "The Well of Loneliness" (1928) by Radclyffe Hall
    The Well's semi-autobiographical character of Stephen Gordon is literature's first modern lesbian protagonist. That was enough to get all copies of the novel destroyed following its 1928 U.S. obscenity trial, but the novel has been rediscovered in recent decades. In addition to being a literary classic in its own right, it is a rare time capsule of frank early 20th century attitudes towards sexual orientation and sexual identity.
     
  5. 9) "Last Exit to Brooklyn" (1964) by Hubert Selby Jr.
    This dark collection of six shockingly contemporary stream-of-consciousness short stories tells of murder, gang rape, and grinding poverty set against the backdrop of the sex trade and Brooklyn's underground gay community. Last Exit spent four years in the British court system before it was finally declared not to be obscene in a landmark 1968 ruling.


    10) "Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure" (1749) by John Cleland
    Fanny Hill holds the distinction of being the longest-banned book in U.S. history. It was initially declared obscene in 1821, a ruling that was not overturned until the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Memoirs v. Massachusetts (1966) decision. During those 145 years, the book was forbidden fruit--but in recent decades, it has attracted little interest from non-scholars.




    (http://civilliberty.about.com/od/freespeech/tp/obscenenovels.htm)
     
  6. Here are some more banned books (In this list, I've italicized the ones I have read):


    1984 - George Orwell

    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885) - Mark Twain

    Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain

    Age of Reason - Thomas Paine

    Andersonville (1955) - MacKinlay Kantor

    Animal Farm - George Orwell

    Arabian Nights

    As I Lay Dying (1932) - William Faulkner

    Beloved - Toni Morrison

    Black Beauty - Anna Sewell

    Bless Me, Ultima - Rudolfo A. Anaya

    Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison

    Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

    Call of the Wild - Jack London

    Can Such Things Be? - Ambrose Bierce

    Candide - Voltaire

    Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer

    Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

    Catcher in the Rye (1951) - J. D. Salinger

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

    Civil Disobedience - Henry David Thoreau

    Color Purple - Alice Walker

    Confessions - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

    Death in Venice - Thomas Mann

    Decameron - Boccaccio

    Dubliners - James Joyce

    Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

    Fanny Hill - John Cleland

    Frankenstein - Mary Shelley

    Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell

    Grapes of Wrath (1939) - John Steinbeck

    Hamlet - William Shakespeare

    Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

    House of Spirits - Isabel Allende

    Howl - Allen Ginsberg

    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou

    Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

    King Lear - William Shakespeare

    Lady Chatterley's Lover - D.H. Lawrence

    Leaves of Grass - Walt Whitman

    Lolita (1955) - Vladimir Nabokov

    Lord of the Flies - William Golding

    Lysistrata - Aristophanes

    Macbeth - William Shakespeare

    Merchant of Venice - William Shakespeare

    Moll Flanders - Daniel Defoe

    Monk - Matthew Lewis

    Native Son - Richard Wright

    ****** of the Narcissus - Joseph Conrad

    Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell

    Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

    Origin of the Species - Charles Darwin

    Portnoy's Complaint (1969) - Philip Roth

    Rights of Man - Thomas Paine

    Satanic Verses - Salman Rushdie

    Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne

    Separate Peace - John Knowles

    Silas Marner - George Eliot

    Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison

    Sons & Lovers - D.H. Lawrence

    To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

    Tropic of Capricorn - Henry Miller

    Twelfth Night - William Shakespeare

    Ulysses - James Joyce

    Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe

    Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle

    (http://classiclit.about.com/od/bannedliteratur1/a/aa_bannedlist.htm)
     
  7. wow thanks for posting - that was quite interesting
     
  8. No Marquis de Sade? He was banned in France for a looong time. I have a few other books by authors similar to this, I just can't get to them right now, and I think a few of them were banned also.

    I'm surprised Tobacco Road isn't on there, it was banned for a long time in the South.
     
  9. I don't know if I agree with their top ten list, off the top of my head Anis Nin is missing and Story of O....I guess depends on how the rated top 10.

    I was surprised by the number of 'banned' books I have read. I have bolded the ones I have read...lol, so many of them required reading in my honors /AP clases in high School! I put * by the ones I read for school.

    1984 - George Orwell *
    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885) - Mark Twain * jr high
    Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain * jr high
    Age of Reason - Thomas Paine *
    Andersonville (1955) - MacKinlay Kantor
    Animal Farm - George Orwell * jr high
    Arabian Nights
    As I Lay Dying (1932) - William Faulkner
    Beloved - Toni Morrison *
    Black Beauty - Anna Sewell
    Bless Me, Ultima - Rudolfo A. Anaya
    Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison *
    Brave New World - Aldous Huxley *
    Call of the Wild - Jack London * jr high....if you live in CA, you have to read Jack London, lol
    Can Such Things Be? - Ambrose Bierce *
    Candide - Voltaire *
    Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer *
    Catch 22 - Joseph Heller *
    Catcher in the Rye (1951) - J. D. Salinger *
    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
    Civil Disobedience - Henry David Thoreau *
    Color Purple - Alice Walker *, with the musical coming out, I recently read a history of the Color Purple, I didn't even realize when I read this for English in 1983, how cutting edge it was...thumbs up to my progressive teacher.
    Confessions - Jean-Jacques Rousseau
    Death in Venice - Thomas Mann
    Decameron - Boccaccio
    Dubliners - James Joyce *
    Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury *, jr high
    Fanny Hill - John Cleland
    Frankenstein - Mary Shelley *, jr high
    Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
    Grapes of Wrath (1939) - John Steinbeck *, jr. high
    Hamlet - William Shakespeare *
    Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
    House of Spirits - Isabel Allende
    Howl - Allen Ginsberg
    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou *
    Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
    King Lear - William Shakespeare *
    Lady Chatterley's Lover - D.H. Lawrence *
    Leaves of Grass - Walt Whitman *
    Lolita (1955) - Vladimir Nabokov *
    Lord of the Flies - William Golding *, 6 th grade
    Lysistrata - Aristophanes
    Macbeth - William Shakespeare *
    Merchant of Venice - William Shakespeare *
    Moll Flanders - Daniel Defoe *
    Monk - Matthew Lewis
    Native Son - Richard Wright *
    ****** of the Narcissus - Joseph Conrad *
    Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck *, jr.high
    Origin of the Species - Charles Darwin
    Portnoy's Complaint (1969) - Philip Roth
    Rights of Man - Thomas Paine *
    Satanic Verses - Salman Rushdie
    Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne *
    Separate Peace - John Knowles *, jr.high
    Silas Marner - George Eliot
    Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison
    Sons & Lovers - D.H. Lawrence *
    To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee *, jr.high
    Tropic of Capricorn - Henry Miller
    Twelfth Night - William Shakespeare *
    Ulysses - James Joyce *
    Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe *, jr.high
    Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle, I read this in like the third grade...awesome book...what the heck was it banned for???

    Anyone else read a lot of these for school???
     
  10. And still, there are others (I've left off the ones I already mentioned, only included selected ones. I've also indicated which ones I've read):

    American Heritage Dictionary (1969)
    In 1978, an Eldon, Missouri library banned the dictionary because it contained 39 "objectionable" words. And, in 1987, the Anchorage School Board banned the dictionary for similar reasons, i.e., having slang definitions for words such as "bed," "knocker," and "balls."


    Andersonville (1955)
    by MacKinlay Kantor
    Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1956, this story of a Confederate prison camp during the Civil War, was viciously attacked throughout the U.S. It was banned in Amarillo, TX.


    Annie on My Mind
    The Olathe, Kansas school system ordered all copies of this book removed from high school library shelves. It is a story of two women who meet and fall in love and struggle with declaring their homosexuality to family and friends.


    The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty
    Beauty's Punishment
    Beauty's Release

    by Anne Rice (under the pseudonym, A.N. Roquelaure, written in the early 1980s)
    April 28, 1996, the Columbus, Ohio Dispatch reported that following a complaint from a patron in the Columbus Metropolitan Library removed the trilogy of Rice's Sleeping Beauty books and their audio tapes after determining the books were pornographic. These same books were also removed from the Lake Lanier Regional Library system in Gwinnett County, Georgia, in 1992.



    Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
    A favorite of censors, this children's book about gay parenting was the subject of a challenge in the public library. In an all-too-familiar request, a parent complained about references to homosexuality in material for children. The library board voted to uphold basic library principles by retaining the book on its appropriate shelf in the children's section.


    Decamerone by Giovanni Boccacio (1313-1375)
    In Cincinnati, an "expurgated" version of Boccacio's Decamerone is confiscated in 1922. In 1926, there is an import ban of the book by the Treasury Department. In 1927, U.S. Customs removes parts of text from the "Ashendene edition" and ships the mutilated copy back to me British publisher in London. In 1932, import ban lifted in Minnesota. In 1934, the New England Watch and Ward Society still bans the book. In 1954, it is still on the black list of the "National Organization of Decent Literature."



    Dictionary of American Slang by T.Y. Crowell, publisher
    Max Rafferty, California superintendent of public instruction in 1963, and his supporters found over 150 "dirty" passages in the book.
     
  11. I read:
    Lady Chatterley's Lover-College
    Madame Bovary-HS
    The God of Small Things-HS
    1984-HS
    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn-College
    Adventures of Tom Sawyer-College
    Animal Farm-College-HS
    Brave New World-College
    Death in Venice-HS
    Decameron-HS
    Frankenstein-College
    Gone With the Wind-HS
    Hamlet-College
    Moll Flanders-HS
    Monk-College
    Scarlet Letter-College
    Sons & Lovers-College
     
  12. Don't Call Me Brother
    by Austin Miles
    In 1992, former Christian fundamentalist minister, Austin Miles, was sued; charges were that his book, Don't Call Me Brother, was "...a vitriolic attack upon organized Christianity." The $4 million lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court also screamed "libel" and "slander." After a lengthy and costly process, the court ruled that the book was not defamatory.


    Flowers in the Attic
    by V.C. Andrews
    The county's board of education decided to remove all school curriculum materials and library books containing any and all "profanity" and "pornography," both concepts ill-defined. The tremendous public outcry made the board backtrack and resolve to review its selection policy. However, after this conciliatory decision, and while the review process still inches along, most of the books in Andrews's popular series Flowers in the Attic were removed from the high-school library for "pornographic" content.



    * Forever
    by Judy Blume
    Forever censored, this wildly popular teen novel was attacked once again for its frank treatment of adolescent sexuality and was removed from an eighth-grade optional reading list. In Rib Lake, Wisconsin, a school district principal had the book removed from the library after confiscating a copy from a student in the lunchroom, finding "graphic descriptions of sex acts."



    From Here to Eternity
    by James Jones
    This book was censored in 1951in Holyoke, Springfield, Massachusetts and in 1953 in Jersey City, New Jersey; blacklisted by National Organization of Decent Literature in 1954.



    The Joy of Sex (1972), More Joy of Sex (1975) by Alex Comfort
    Lexington police in 1978 confiscated these sex instruction books in accordance with a new county ordinance prohibiting the display of sexually-oriented publications in places frequented by minors.


    Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
    by William Steig
    In 1977, the Illinois Police Association urged librarians to remove the book, which portrays its characters as animals, and presents the police as pigs. The American Library Association reported similar complaints in 11 other states.

    (http://web.archive.org/web/20030401124754/www.banned-books.com/bblist.html)
     
  13. Mary, a lot of the books I've indicated were for school, both high school and university.

    King Lear and Macbeth I read on my own, as well as Forever, The Catcher in the Rye (later on it wound up on my summer reading list) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
     
  14. I wonder why frankenstien was banned but not dracula, considering they were published around the same time.....there is a story about that the authors knew each other and wrote bith books in response to some challege or request for horror stories, I used to know the details...but have forgotten...it's been too long since jr.high, when we read them.
     
  15. i've taught the following:

    1984 - George Orwell

    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885) - Mark Twain

    Animal Farm - George Orwell

    Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer

    Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

    Catcher in the Rye (1951) - J. D. Salinger

    Color Purple - Alice Walker

    Dubliners - James Joyce

    Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

    Frankenstein - Mary Shelley

    Hamlet - William Shakespeare

    Lord of the Flies - William Golding

    Lysistrata - Aristophanes

    Macbeth - William Shakespeare

    Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell

    Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

    Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne

    Separate Peace - John Knowles

    To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

    of mice & men is my favorite, as well as to kill a mockingbird. as a kid i loved A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle as well as the other books in that series.