10 Free Banned Books

Oct 01, 2010

It's the last day of this year's Banned Books Week, a national campaign against censorship. What better way to spend the weekend than by reading an 'obscene' or 'objectionable' book? Check out these links to free classics that have been challenged, banned or burned for containing 'radical' ideas.

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free ebook book cover awakening chopin

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.

free ebook book cover Lawrence Sons Lovers

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.

free ebook book cover Lawrence Women Love

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.

free ebook book cover london call wild

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.

free ebook book cover carroll alice wonderland

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.

free ebook book cover candide voltaire

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.

free ebook book cover Madam Bovary Flaubert

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

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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.

free ebook book cover Leaves grass whitman

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.

free ebook book cover rousseau confessions

''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.

free ebook Shelley frankenstein book cover

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.

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