The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Published in 1899, Chopin's classic novel is an important piece of feminist fiction. The book was controversial because it depicted main character Edna Pontellier's ambivalence toward familial obligations at a time when women were expected to embrace household roles.
Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
This highly regarded 1913 novel, set in Nottinghamshire, England, describes a home with peculiar family dynamics. The story features a woman who, dissatisfied with her husband, becomes overly attached to her sons. One son struggles with the unnatural attachment.
Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
Another masterpiece by Lawrence, Women in Love examines the relationships two English sisters have with different men. Featuring complex psychological analysis from the early twentieth century, the novel was controversial due to sexual themes.
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
The central character of London's novel is Buck, a sled dog during Alaska's gold rush. Taking place at the turn of the twentieth century, the story follows Buck as he is passed between owners before entering the wild. The book was banned in Italy and Yugoslavia for having 'radical' ideas.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
This story has entertained children and adults alike for nearly 150 years. That may make it seem an unlikely candidate to be banned, but one Chinese province reportedly outlawed the book in 1931 due to an objection with anthropomorphized characters.
Candide by Voltaire
Many of today's classics initially entered the public consciousness via scandal; Candide is one such work. Banned upon publication in France for its satirical portrayal of religious, political and cultural attitudes, the book is now considered a vital contribution to Western literature.
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Biological and Biomedical Sciences
- Communications and Journalism
- Computer Sciences
- Culinary Arts and Personal Services
- Liberal Arts and Humanities
- Mechanic and Repair Technologies
- Medical and Health Professions
- Physical Sciences
- Transportation and Distribution
- Visual and Performing Arts
This novel is another example of a modern-day classic that was originally published amidst civic furor. French authorities put Flaubert on trial for obscenity upon the book's publication. The author was acquitted, and his story of Emma Bovary's adulterous and decadent behavior quickly became a favorite with the public.
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Leaves of Grass is a beloved book of poetry appreciated for its lyricism to this day. At one point in the nineteenth century, however, it was removed from a Boston library due to 'explicit' language. Authorities also have had difficulty with sexual themes inherent in the work.
''Confessions'' by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Rousseau was a major philosopher, and this extensive autobiography of the Frenchman is important to understanding his ideas. Detailing his achievements as well as unsavory incidents in his life, the book was also once banned by U.S. Customs.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
This novel from the nineteenth century is considered one of the earliest examples of science fiction. Dr. Frankenstein, after creating a monster, is terrorized by the beast for the entirety of his remaining days. The book was also thought a potential threat to the reading public - South Africa banned it in 1955 for obscene content.
Interested in more banned books? If you haven't already seen it, check out Monday's post for a list of more challenged and banned books.