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The List

List No 2: Banned Books

Felicity Cloake

I want the one I can’t have / 
and it’s driving me mad 

– Morrissey


  1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll was banned in China in 1931 because it featured talking animals

  2. The American Heritage Dictionary was banned in 1978 by a library in Eldon, Missouri for containing 39 ‘objectionable words’ including ‘knocker’ and ‘balls’

  3. Jack London’s lupine love story White Fang was removed from shops in Italy in 1929, the same year his work was banned in Yugoslavia for being ‘too radical’

  4. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell fell foul of apartheid-era South African censorship laws, despite the beauty in question being a horse

  5. Copies of Boccaccio’s Decameron, a fourteenth-century allegorical treatise on love, were deemed too racy for the American public and confiscated by US Customs in 1927. The offending pages were ripped out and the mutilated books shipped back to the British publishers. Rousseau’s Confessions suffered similar abuse two years later after being labelled ‘injurious to public morality’

  6. An illustrated version of Little Red Riding Hood showing the protagonist taking food and wine to her grandmother was banned in two Californian school districts in 1989 because of its disturbing portrayal of alcohol. No objections were lodged about the granny’s taste for human flesh with her Mateus Rosé

  7. In 1996, a New Hampshire school took Twelfth Night off the syllabus over fears it promoted ‘alternative lifestyles’. Despite its swift re-instatement, cross-dressing levels in the district appear to have remained static

  8. There have been several attempts to ban Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl from American libraries, including one on the grounds that it’s ‘a real downer’

  9. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was removed from the reference collection of a public library in Colorado for ‘espousing a poor philosophy of life’

  10. Where’s Wally? (known in America as Where’s Waldo?) was banned from some US libraries for featuring a topless mermaid. Posterity does not record how long it took to spot this brazen temptress

  11. The Da Vinci Code is banned in Nagaland, a small north-eastern state of India on grounds of blasphemy. Please note that you will need to change planes in Kolkata