Free speech and censorship are at the heart of contemporary political debate – but how has our conception of censorship evolved? The list of books suppressed in the English language features the sacred and profane, poetic and pornographic, famous and infamous. Why these books, and how?
A history of literary censorship is a history not only of texts but of the authorities that have attempted to prevent their circulation: sovereigns, politicians, judges, prison officers, slaveholders, school governors, librarians, teachers, parents, students, editors and publishers. Censored deals with some of the most contentious and fascinating cases, including works now praised as literary masterpieces, such as James Joyce’s Ulysses and Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita; as well as a troubling book about assassination that was implicated in a murder case.
In Censored Inglis and Fellion offer a fascinating showcase of the variety of suppressed literature, the methods and consequences of censorship, and landmarks in the history of free speech. A book dedicated to those who, free to speak, are powerless to be heard, Censored is a vitally important, concrete contribution to a debate so often disconnected from fact, and from history.