Literary Censorship

To honor Banned Books Week, our Review of the Week provides a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between literature and censorship in the last four centuries

Censorship and the limits of the literary : a global view

ed. by Nicole Moore Bloomsbury Academic, 2015
260p bibl index, 9781628920093 $110.00, 9781628920109

The absorbing essays in this timely collection cover the fascinating relationship between literature and censorship in a remarkably diverse set of circumstances over the last four centuries. Presented chronologically in four groups, the 16 chapters cover the complex and sometimes surprising causes and effects of censorship from France on the eve of the French Revolution to China in the age of the Internet. Frequently including lively accounts of the intrigues behind efforts to suppress material, the contributors scrutinize the role that censorship has played in what is circulated and in what authors choose to communicate. Though it surely makes sense to read the commentaries from beginning to end, this reviewer actually started in the middle because—having just taught Tropic of Cancer, a work frequently addressed in examinations of censorship—she was immediately drawn to Loren Glass’s essay “Freedom to Read: Barney Rosset, Henry Miller and the End of Obscenity” to see if it covered new ground. It did, as do the other, equally engaging analyses in the volume. This accessible collection reveals that the winds can definitely blow in unexpected directions.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers.
Reviewer: D. C. Greenwood, Albright College
Subject: Humanities – Language & Literature
Choice Issue: Aug 2016