Five banned books to read this winter

Turning the spotlight on five controversial books that were once banned

brunch Updated: Nov 27, 2017 13:38 IST
Farhad J. Dadyburjor
Farhad J. Dadyburjor
Hindustan Times
books,banned books,controversial books
These books were banned because of several reasons.

1. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs (1959)

Naked Lunch.

Banned because of: Sexual content

Narrated by drug junkie William Lee, this experimental novel was told in ‘routines’ that could be read in any order. It was banned in many parts of the US but continues to be one of the most inventive books.

2. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (1991)

American Psycho

Banned because of: Depiction of violence

Several countries restricted its sale and the author even received death threats. It was a massively controversial novel, so much so that its original publishers dropped it and The New York Times urged people not to buy it. Today it’s a cult novel.

3. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (1955)


Banned because of: Obscenity

Lolita, a tale of obsession and lust, is part of syllabuses today. Narrated by Humbert Humbert on his sexual relations with the 12-year-old daughter of his landlady it was banned in the UK, France, Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa.

4. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (1962)

A Clockwork Orange.

Banned because of: Depiction of extreme violence

It was withdrawn from several schools the US and this dystopian novel was set in a near future English society. The book was an experiment in language with a new kind of teenage slang.

5. Animal Farm by George Orwell (1945)

Animal Farm.

Banned because of: Being critical of the USSR

Since it reflects events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union, in the 1940s, allied forces found it too controversial to print during wartime.

From HT Brunch, November 26, 2017

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First Published: Nov 25, 2017 22:06 IST