Classic Literature Banned For Being Controversial


Some of the world's most popular books have been challenged for reasons ranging from violence to psychic overtones. Here's a look at 10 classic books that have stirred up controversy.


Sure, it's well known that Vladimir Nabokov's story is about a middle-aged literature professor obsessed with a 12-year-old girl who eventually becomes his stepdaughter. It's the kind of storyline that would raise eyebrows today, so imagine what the response was when the book was released in 1955. A number of countries – including France, England, Argentina, New Zealand, and South Africa – banned the book for being obscene. Canada also followed suit in 1958, though it later lifted the ban on what is now considered a classic piece of literature.

The Catcher In The Rye

J.D. Salinger's classic has practically become a rite of passage for teenagers, but back when it was published in 1951, it wasn't always easy for a kid to get his or her hands on it. According to TIME, "Within two weeks of its 1951 release, J.D. Salinger’s novel rocketed to No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list. Ever since, the book – which explores three days in the life of a troubled 16-year-old boy – has been a 'favourite of censors since its publication,' according to the American Library Association."

The Giver

The newest book on this list, Lois Lowry's 1993 novel about a dystopia masquerading as a utopia was banned in several U.S. states, including California and Kentucky, for addressing issues such as euthanasia.