The written word can convey new ideas, inspire movements, and amplify otherwise unheard voices. It is for these reasons, among others, that certain books have sparked passionate debates throughout history.
Read on to discover seven polarizing pieces of literature and the controversies behind each of these banned books.
1. Big River, Big Sea — Untold Stories of 1949 — 大江大海一九四九
2. Doctor Zhivago — До́ктор Жива́го
3. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood —Persepolis
4. One Day of Life — Un día en la vida
5. The Zahir — O Zahir
6. All Quiet on the Western Front — Im Westen nichts Neues
7. The Decameron — Decamerone
Unfortunately, the banning of books is nothing new. Fourteenth-century Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron was banned in the U.S. for decades under the infamous Comstock Act of 1873. A collection of stories ranging from the erotic to tragic, The Decameron is considered an influential masterpiece of European literature, but was dubbed vulgar, obscene, and cynical by its detractors.
The phenomenon of book banning reveals the significance of literature in our culture. Language is powerful — a way to help us connect through ideas and stories, bridging cultural barriers.
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What are your favorite banned or controversial books from other countries? Tell us in the comments below!