Ulysses by James Joyce
Although Ulysses is often thought to be the best novel of the 20th century, it was seen as obscene and banned from the United States for 15 years. Since the lifting of the ban in 1933, people have had easy access to the massive Modernist masterpiece that is Ulysses.
The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine
Perhaps the last thing you would want to do in 1792 England is write something defending the French Revolution. Most likely you would be indicted for treason, which is what happened to Thomas Paine when he wrote The Rights of Man. But then again, treason is just a small price to pay if your underground manifesto ends up influencing the masses. You’re a pretty bad ass dude, Thomas.
The Bible by God and/or generations of God-fearing men
Throughout history, the Bible has been seen as a little less than holy in the eyes of many, which has resulted in various bans. In 1199, Pope Innocent III banned people from having personal access to a bible. A Pope banning a bible? That’s like BYU banning Twilight.
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
The young adult classic that openly tackles taboo subjects such as menstruation, sexual exploration, and religious doubts had people up in arms. Blume has been called a communist for writing this book, which is a bit confusing. What do periods and bras have to do with common ownership and control of the means of production and property?
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Over four hundred years later, the Bard is still being banned. In 1996, schools in Merrimack, New Hampshire pulled Twelfth Night from the curriculum because the play contained “alternative lifestyles.” After an uproar from local citizens, the ban was lifted and students were able to once again enjoy the much-loved comedy about cross-dressing mistaken identity.
The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
Oh, Darwin– presenting a body of evidence that pretty much proves man evolved from apes through small genetic mutations over millions of years is sure going to get your ass in some hot water. But Darwin went ahead and wrote the groundbreaking The Origin of Species anyway. In 1925, a teacher in Tennessee named John T. Scopes was convicted of teaching evolutionary theory to his students. The law in Tennessee that prohibited teaching evolutionary theory was eventually repealed in 42 years later.