U.S. Customs held up 500 sets of the translation by the French scholar Mardrus, which were imported from England (1927-31). It was confiscated in Cairo, Egypt (1985), on the grounds that it contained obscene passages which posed a threat to the country's moral fabric.
Banned in the Graves County School District in Mayfield, KY (1986) because it contained "offensive and obscene passages referring to abortion and used God's name in vain." The decision was reversed a week later after intense pressure from the ACLU and considerable negative publicity. Banned at Central High School in Louisville, KY (1994) temporarily because the book uses profanity and questions the existence of God.
Many editions of the Bible have also been banned and burned by civil and religious authorities throughout history. In 1551 in Spain, the Inquisitorial Index of Valentia forbade Bibles in Spanish or any other vernacular. Banned from import in the Soviet Union from 1926 to 1956; official directions to libraries stated "The section on religion must obtain solely anti-religious books. Religiously dogmatic books must be left in the large libraries, but removed from smaller ones". Import of the Bible was not permitted. In 1956, the Bible was published after a lapse of 38 years. On July 1, 1996, Singapore convicted a woman for possessing the Jehovah's Witness translation of the Bible. A 2000 US government report reported that Burma bans all Bible translations into local indigenous languages. Distributing Bibles, along with other forms of proselytizing by non-Muslims, is also banned in Saudi Arabia.
Banned in Ireland in 1958 because of its treatment of adolescent sexuality, questionable language, and critiques of Irish republicanism, social attitudes and the Catholic Church. Banned in Australia and New Zealand shortly after.
In 1930, U.S. Customs seized Harvard-bound copies of Candide, claiming obscenity. Two Harvard professors defended the work, and it was later admitted in a different edition. In 1944, the US Post Office demanded the omission of Candide from a mailed Concord Books catalog.
SBanned from English classes at the Freeport High School in De Funiak Springs, Fla. (1985) because it is "unacceptable" and "obscene." Banned from the classrooms in Boron, Calif High School (1989) because the book contains profanity. Banned, but later reinstated after community protests at the Windsor Forest High School in Savannah, Ga. (2000).
All works by and about the author were banned in Nazi-Germany. In 1929 in China, the Nationalist government stopped, where possible, the reading of the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital. Works by Marx were banned by Russian authorities from 1871 to 1900.
Banned from the U.S. mails under the Comstock Law.
Banned in South Africa during the Apartheid regime under the Customs and Excise Act No. 55 of 1955 and Publication Act No. 42 of 1974. Ten tales from The Decameron were banned by the Department of Customs and Excise in Australia in 1963.
Ironically, students at the Venado Middle School in Irvine, Calif. received copies of the book with scores of words--mostly "hells" and "damns"--blacked out (the novel is about book burning and censorship). After receiving complaints from parents and being contacted by reporters, school officials said the censored copies would no longer be used (1992).
The June 1929 issue of Scribner's Magazine, which ran Hemingway's novel, was banned in Boston, Mass. (1929). Banned in Italy (1929) because of its painfully accurate account of the Italian retreat from Caporetto, Italy; banned in Ireland (1939).
Declared non-mailable by the U.S. Post Office (1940). On Feb. 21, 1973, eleven Turkish book publishers went on trial before an Istanbul martial law tribunal on charges of publishing, possessing, and selling books in violation of an order of the Istanbul martial law command. They faced possible sentences of between one month's and six month's imprisonment "for spreading propaganda unfavorable to the state" and the confiscation of their books.
In Spain in 1939, all works by Ibsen were purged by the Franco Government. In 1890, Ghosts was banned in St. Petersburg on religious grounds for references to incest and sexually transmitted diseases. The ban was lifted in 1958.
Burned by the St. Louis, Mo. Public Library and barred from the Buffalo, N.Y Public Library (1939) on the grounds that "vulgar words" were used. Banned in Kansas City, Mo. (1939); Kern County, Calif., the scene of Steinbeck's novel, (1939); Ireland (1953); Kanawha, Iowa High School classes (1980); and Morris, Manitoba (1982).
Removed from classrooms in Stafford County, Va. Schools (1995) and placed in restricted access in the library because the story contains crude language and encourages children to disobey their parents and other adults.
Banned from public libraries in Yugoslavia (1929). Burned in the Nazi bonfires because of Sinclair's socialist views (1933). Banned in East Germany (1956) as inimical to communism. Banned in South Korea (1985).
Now considered to be among Shakespeare's greatest works, Lear was performed in drastically adapted form--Nahum Tate's Restoration version eliminated characters and boasted a happy ending in which Lear is restored to the throne and Cordelia survives. The play was subject to political censorship when it was banned from the English stage from 1788 to 1820, out of respect to King George III's alleged insanity. The tragic ending of King Lear was not restored until 1823, and the character of the fool was finally reintroduced in 1838.
Banned in Thailand for its criticism of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
-Article 19, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
In 213 BC, the Ch'in emperor Shih Huang-ti ordered the first recorded burning of books on the grounds that they allegedly contained nothing but idle speculation and only excited people to criticize the government.
Although freedom of speech is now recognized as a right in the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, censorship is alive and kicking. Whether the government is fascist or even democratic, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and is commonly subject to "limitations".