top 10 controversial books

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Grant B, Feb 4, 2003.

  1. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    http://books.guardian.co.uk/top10s/t...888156,00.html

    Top 10 of anything is popular on this forum, thought this might be interesting to people.
    I read 'Campaign Trail' about 20 years ago and it was prety hard to remember the politicans who ran against Nixon even then...funny in places
    HST Rules!

    1. The Dark by John McGahern
    An astonishing study in power, fear, sexuality and religion. Staggeringly well written and heartbreaking in every possible way. Famously banned for a time in Ireland.

    2. Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 by Hunter S Thompson
    Insanity, obscenity, profanity, illegality and reptilian paranoia - but which is more distressing, HST's lunatic chemical life and Gonzo prose style, or Richard Milhous Nixon and co taking a whole country for a nasty ride? And where, by the way, is the energy of Gonzo now when we need it?

    3. That Hideous Strength by CS Lewis
    Dreadful title, wonderfully savage book. This fantasy anticipated the postwar decline in British education with ghoulish clarity. No fauns and witches (they're banned in some US schools, by the way), only very adult evil, moral weakness and the kind of unremitting justice that unsettles the soul.

    4. Sergeant Getulio by Joao Ubaldo Ribeiro
    A stunningly written, unflinching journey with a man we should find appalling. And the sergeant does indeed horrify, but also emerges as terribly familiar, a monster we can feel under our skin. Not for the fainthearted, but worth it - a lovely, angry, truthful book.

    5. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
    Great for a kneejerk banning, even today. A different monster here, in paedophile Humbert Humbert, but one who is equally unnerving and, ultimately, just as close at hand. A faultlessly crafted work without prurience and with considerable knowledge of human nature. Also rather more use than a lynch mob on the lookout for paediatricians.

    6. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
    Lambasted when it came out as irredeemably perverse and, I quote, as practically "French".

    7. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
    This appears consistently on the American Library Association's list of "most frequently challenged books". Apparently the fact that it evokes the dreadfully disinterested havoc of war is offensive, rather than necessary. It also uses bad words and black humour, unforgivable in time of war, and employs phrases like "The gun made a ripping sound like the opening of the fly of God Almighty." Dear me.

    8. The Confidence Man by Herman Melville
    A rarely appreciated masterpiece by a writer pushing the boundaries of his craft. It's also subtly and very deeply alarming in its examination of personality, compromise and evil.

    9. Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes
    Placed on the Index in Madrid for the sentence "Works of charity negligently performed are of no worth." Justifiably a classic of world literature and one a remarkable number of people have never actually read.

    10. The Beach at Falesa/ The Ebb Tide/ Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by RL Stevenson
    They're all published together in at least one edition. Mr Hyde, of course, didn't fit with the image of everyone's favourite children's author and the two late stories didn't appear unedited until long after the author's death; implying, as they did, that the British Empire might not have been an entirely altruistic enterprise. For burning moral certainty and deep understanding of human frailty and hypocrisy, see all the above. For an additional savage attack on economic violence, abuse of power and the insanity of capital, The Ebb Tide can't be beaten.
     
  2. Mick Wright

    Mick Wright Second Unit

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    I agree about Campaign Trail '72, there's a reason it's still in print 30 years later. Most of those books are pretty tame by today's standards though. If you want mondern day controversy, proceed directly to Chuck Palahniuk.
     
  3. Khoa Tran

    Khoa Tran Supporting Actor

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    The Two Tropics from Henry Miller...
     
  4. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    I read slaughterhouse five.. awesome book...
     
  5. Steven K

    Steven K Supporting Actor

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    The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
    Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
    Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut (my personal fav!)
    Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein
     
  6. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    anyone read survivor by the author of fight club, chuck palahniuk? not a classic 'banned book' or anything, but the subject matter deals with things that i could see being banned in some places. great book by the way, much better than fight club.

    CJ
     
  7. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    Where's Ulysses, Naked Lunch, and the above mentioned Satanic Verses? Those seem more controversial than some of the choices.
     
  8. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    I am surprised Le Marquis de Sade is not mentioned.

    --
    Holadem
     
  9. Steven K

    Steven K Supporting Actor

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    Also should mention "The Last Temptation of Christ" by Nikos Kazantzakis.
     
  10. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Erm, but what could have ever been more controversial than Charles Darwin's The Descent of Man, Karl Marx's and Frederick Engel's The Communist Manifesto, or even Flaubert's Madame Bovary (and Hardy's Jude the Obscure)?
     
  11. Jed M

    Jed M Cinematographer

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    I would imagine all religious books, Bible, Koran, etc... have caused far more controversy than any of these listed. I don't get "Wuthering Heights" at all. I read that book and it seemed like a good love story to me. I guess at the time it was scandalous?
     
  12. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Jed: It's the astonishing narrative technique that Bronte employed in Wuthering Heights that makes it a literary masterpiece. Is a tour de force of superb writing and far, far more than a mere "love story." There's so much going on in the marvelous novel. JB
     
  13. Jed M

    Jed M Cinematographer

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    Jack, I agree with you. I shouldn't have called it a "love story" as it is one of my favorite books, and movies (the 1939 William Wyler version with Olivier). I just didn't see how it could be considered controversial. I recommend that book to everyone but I think they will be disappointed if they are looking for a real controversy like HST.
     
  14. Jeff Pryor

    Jeff Pryor Supporting Actor

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    The Turner Diaries. I loved it, but it's a dark look at racism today.
     
  15. EdR

    EdR Second Unit

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    As an avid reader of science, I think there are certain books that changed (or are changing) our conception of the world and our place in it...

    (in alpha order)

    Copernicus - De Revolutionibus
    Darwin - On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection
    Darwin - The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals
    Galileo - Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems
     
  16. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Actually, rereading the article again; it's just one man's take on the subject. Still pretty cool and brings up some interesting posts.
     
  17. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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  18. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    I'm always terribly surprised when Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut shows up on these type lists. I know it was banned in schools during the era, but the book, and moreso Mr. Vonnegut himself, seems to be such a humanistic manefesto that it should be required reading as opposed to forbidden.

    I've said it on this forum a dozen times, but I'll say it again, if you haven't read Vonnegut- you're really doing yourself a disservice.

    -Vince
     
  19. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
     
  20. Danny R

    Danny R Supporting Actor

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    D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover was the object of numerous obscenity trials in both the UK and the United States up into the 1960s.

    As Brian mentioned, Huckleberry Finn has had numerous attempts against it to be removed from schools, along with Tom Sawyer and other books dealing with race such as Uncle Tom's Cabin.

    Banned Books

    Banned Books Week yearly event.
     

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