Banned Books

If you’re not aware already, this week is the American Library Association’s Banned Book Week, which seeks to draw attention to the freedom to read and “reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted.” Of course, this is a warning we should all heed – as the example of Bookkake’s Fanny Hill demonstrates.

Fanny Hill remains one of the most famous cases of censorship in British – and indeed American – history, and Sean Walsh details the beginnings of its troubles in his introduction to the book – alongside details of Jacobite sex clubs, and Eighteenth century sex panic and blood fixations. It was Fanny Hill that was at the centre of Memoirs v. Massachusetts, a landmark 1966 Supreme Court case that finally put the decade-old Roth ruling for obscenity to the test.

John Mark Ockerbloom has a great post on Why Banned Book Week Matters over at the Everybody’s Libraries blog, and the Guardian is also running a reasonably enlightening Banned Books Quiz to test your knowledge.

Image from florian.b’s Flickr stream, under Creative Commons.

Posted September 30, 2008 by James Bridle. Comments (2)


  1. I’d like to point out that David Britton’s novel Lord Horror was the last work of fiction to be banned in the UK. Somehow the book is always passed over during Banned Book Week — which is ironic for the obvious reason that Lord Horror is now given the silent treatment that the British legal system wanted to impose on it.

    # by Supervert, October 3, 2008

  2. Don’t worry, I’m going to devote a much longer discussion to Lord Horror before too long…

    # by Bookkake, October 7, 2008

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