Archive for the ‘Book Censorship’ Category

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A Propos of Lady Chatterley's Lover and other Essays The obscenity trial over DH Lawrence’s novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover was a national sensation. The 1960 case was also a watershed moment in Britain’s cultural history, when the legacy of Victorian morality was finally overtaken by the liberal attitudes of the Swinging Sixties.Now that book — complete with notes by his wife — has been barred from export because of its cultural significance. The book sold for £56,250 last year and the new owner had planned to take it abroad. UK buyers now have until October to match that sum.

Sir Laurence Byrne and his wife Dorothy made annotations on the copy, marking out sexually explicit passages Sir Laurence Byrne and his wife Dorothy made annotations on the copy, marking out sexually explicit passages

Arts minister Michael Ellis said he hoped a buyer could be found in order to keep this important part of our nation’s history in the UK.

But not to worry, this government is dreaming up lots of new censorship ideas, and no doubt this will lead to lots more trials and prosecutions, and historically significant censorship decisions.

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The Siege of Tel Aviv The Siege of Tel Aviv by Hesh Kestin, a parody novel, had been pulled by its independent publisher, Dzanc Books after a Twitter lynch mob claimed the book to be Islamophobic and racist.Kestin explained that the publisher had initially stood its ground against the Twitteridiots who attacked it, but later buckled under pressure.

The book had earlier been endorsed by some big names including Stephen King who said it was scarier than anything he ever wrote, but also that:

An irrepressible sense of humor runs through it … it’s stuff like the cross-dressing pilot (my favorite character) and any number of deliciously absurd situations (the pink jets). It’s the inevitable result of an eye that sees the funny side, even in horror. So few writers have that. This novel will cause talk and controversy. Most of all, it will be read.

The book’s promotional material reads:

Iran leads five armies in a brutal victory over Israel, which ceases to exist. Within hours, its leaders are rounded up and murdered, the IDF is routed, and the country’s six million Jews concentrated in Tel Aviv, which becomes a starving ghetto. While the US and the West sit by, Israel’s enemies prepare to kill off the entire population.

On the eve of genocide, Tel Aviv makes one last attempt to save itself, as an Israeli businessman, a gangster, and a cross-dressing fighter pilot put together a daring plan to counterattack. Will it succeed?

It seems to have been the promotional material that was the basis for the Twitterstorm. Writer Nathan Goldman Goldman said that as soon as he read the marketing copy of the book — he says he has not read the book in its entirety– he knew the racist rhetoric it was implying.

Emmy Award-winning poet Tariq Luthun, who also engaged in the Twitter conversation, said that he doesn’t know the writer’s specific ideologies, but what he read in the description and the excerpt available online goes beyond Islamophobia.

Steve Gillis, co-founder of Dzanc Books, apologised.

If an error has been committed, it is not in our intent, but in the failure to consider how readers might perceive the novel. It was my own blindness, and reading the novel as a parody, which has me so troubled now.

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sarft logo Chinese government censors are reading Australian publishers’ books and, in some cases, refusing to allow them to be printed in China if they fail to comply with a long list of restrictions.

Publishing industry figures have confirmed that the censors from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China are vetting books sent by Australian publishers to Chinese printing presses, even though they are written by Australian authors and intended for Australian readers.

  • Any mention of a list of political dissidents, protests or political figures in China, is entirely prohibited, according to a list circulated to publishers and obtained by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.
  • The list of prohibitions mentions key political incidents, including the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, the pro-democracy protests in 2011 and the 2014 umbrella revolution in Hong Kong. The Tibetan independence movement, Uighur nationalism and Falun Gong are also taboo subjects.
  • Mention of all major Chinese political figures, including Mao Zedong and the current president, Mr Xi, and all current members of the Politburo Standing Committee is ruled out, as is a long list of 118 dissidents who are not allowed to be mentioned.
  • Most major religions are also on the sensitive list, as well as a long list of Chinese, or former Chinese locations, most relating to current or former border disputes. The printer’s guidance says these things can be published after vetting by censors.
  • Pornography was ruled out entirely, but artistic nudity or sexual acts could be censored in 10 working days.

Printing books, particularly those with colour illustrations, is significantly cheaper in China, so some publishers have little choice but to put them through the government censorship process.

Sandy Grant, of publisher Hardie Grant, said he had scrapped a proposed children’s atlas last year because the censors ruled out a map showing the wrong borders.(probably to do with Chinese claims about Taiwan or Tibet). European alternatives were considered economically unviable.

A printing industry source who works with Chinese presses confirmed that the rules, in theory, had been in place for a long time, but that, all of a sudden they’ve decided to up the ante. They’re checking every book; they’re very, very strict at the moment. I don’t know how they’re reading every book, but they definitely are, the printer said. The change had happened in the past few months.

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Blood Heir An up-and-coming young author has cancelled the publication of her highly anticipated debut novel received a barrage of criticism from the PC lynch mob over her depiction of race and slavery.Amélie Wen Zhao’s novel, Blood Heir , is a fantastical retelling of the Anastasia story involving “a princess hiding a dark secret and the conman she must trust to clear her name for her father’s murder, it was scheduled to be published in June.

After criticism on grounds of political correctness, Zhao said in a statement that negative feedback from the young adult community had led to her asking her publisher, Delacorte Press, not to release the book at this time. She said:

It was never my intention to bring harm to any reader of this valued community, particularly those for whom I seek to write and empower … I don’t wish to clarify, defend or have anyone defend me. This is not that; this is an apology.

Zhao had previously said on her website that she had set out to create “a diverse cast, many of which are beloved and dear to a third-culture kid like myself

Before the PC mob picked up on the book, early reviews had been positive.

Offsite Comment: The return of book-burning

Spiked logo The Twittermob’s fury with un-woke novels has sinister echoes of the past.

See  article from spiked-online.com by Tim Dawson

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jack gantos suicide bomber A Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library , a new comic book has been pulled from publication at the behest of the PC lynch mob.The graphic novel, written by the Newbery medal-winning author Jack Gantos and illustrated by Sandman artist Dave McKean, it is part of a series linked by ‘sitting’ and was due to be released in May 2019. The book is pretty much a morality tale. It follows a suicide bomber who changes his mind once he discovers the joys of reading.

A group called the Asian Author Alliance responded with a call for the book to be censored. In an open letter, 1000 signatories said  the book was steeped in Islamophobia and profound ignorance. The letter continued :

The simple fact is that today, the biggest terrorist threat in the US is white supremacy. In publishing A Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library, [publisher] Abrams is wilfully fear-mongering and spreading harmful stereotypes in a failed attempt to show the power of story.

As criticism of the comic spread online, McKean, one of the UK’s most acclaimed comics illustrators, responded , saying that the book was firmly on the side of literacy, empathy and non-violence. He tweeted:

The premise of the book is that a boy uses his mind and faith to decide for himself that violence is not the right course

I had just this anxiety when the script came to me. I just hoped we’d moved beyond each of us only being able to talk to and from our own little cultural bubble.

Abrams announced the cancellation of the comic saying in a statement that it had decided to withdraw it, with the support of McKean and Gantos:

While the intention of the book was to help broaden a discussion about the power of literature to change lives for the better, we recognise the harm and offence felt by many at a time when stereotypes breed division, rather than discourse.

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bookmarks 0300x0070 logoFar-right protesters have ransacked a socialist bookshop in London. The owners of Bookmarks say masked attackers wrecked displays and tore up books.Posting on Facebook and Twitter, Bookmarks said staff were closing the shop on Bloomsbury Street in central London on Saturday evening when about a dozen people descended on it.

A far-right protest against censorship of the website Infowars took place in central London on Saturday at which protesters were seen with the same placards. Others wore Make Britain Great Again caps.

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Books sample trigger warning labelSensitive snowflake students will soon need trigger warnings for some of the world’s most famous literature, an award winning author has claimed.

Julian Barnes was stunned to learn young university pupils had been critical of the behaviour of book character’s like Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.

Students in the US called the protagonist, Emma Bovary, a bad mother based on her affairs, her lifestyle longing to escape dull, provincial life.

The 72-year-old told those gathered at the celebration of the Booker’s half-century on Sunday:

I don’t know where to begin to unpick that.

As for students asking to hear in advance the bad things that happen in Titus Andronicus.

We might as well have a trigger warning on all great works of literature.