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Old 09-13-2006, 04:54 PM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Explore banned books with Google Book Search

They have been censored, banned and burned - literary classics now removed from school curriculae across various continents. Google, whose unofficial motto is "don't be evil", has decided to help people through their Google Book Search project to learn about and explore these banned books.

You can start by browsing 42 titles – among them such classics as To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov, Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs and Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut.

[via Slashdot]
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Old 09-13-2006, 05:28 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander Turcic
You can start by browsing 42 titles – among them such classics as To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov, Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs and Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut.
Am I missing something?

Almost every time, when I click on a link at books.google.com, I don't get a preview of the book. I get lots of links showing what libraries have the book.
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Old 09-13-2006, 05:35 PM   #3
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By "explore" Google probably meant to provide a tool to find the books in questions in various places (online or offline in libraries).

I was also fooled first when I first visited their Book Search site and hoped to actually find full content.
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Old 09-14-2006, 02:02 AM   #4
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Those books are banned? Iread quite a few of them. Must be an american thing because most of them were really good books.
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Old 09-14-2006, 03:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tribble
Those books are banned? Iread quite a few of them. Must be an american thing because most of them were really good books.
They are using the term "banned" rather loosely.

By "banned" they mean that they ended up on some banned book list somewhere at sometime.

I read many of these books in High School.
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Old 09-14-2006, 10:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tribble
Those books are banned? Iread quite a few of them. Must be an american thing because most of them were really good books.
They weren't banned becuase they were bad, Tribble!

They were banned because they were considered subversive, too racey, used racial descriptions that were common to the time they were written, and other reasons like that. In The U.S. this occurred mostly during the 1950's, I think. I know that Germany banned a lot of stuff during the 30's & 40's, and the Soviets banned a lot of stuff too (and China still does, as I understand), but those lists would be ... different.
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Old 09-14-2006, 11:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tribble
Those books are banned? Iread quite a few of them. Must be an american thing because most of them were really good books.
This particular list seems to be based on US prohibitions -- but there's also such a thing as Index Librorum Prohibitorum, the Vatican list of prohibited books, abolished in 1966. It contained (from time to time) authors like Defoe, Voltaire, Copernicus, Kant, Berkeley, and many others.

Another web page that has been around for some time, but not as visibly as Google, is http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/banned-books.html .

A somewhat less visible censorship is probably still with us. When The Mitrokhin Archive, vol. 1, was published some years ago, and translated into german, it was noted that while the original english edition contained 1024 pages, the german translation had 848 -- and translations from english are very rarely shorter than the original. If I remember, in one chapter 10 end notes were found to have been dropped. (I don't know if anyone has traced down all the omissions, and analyzed them.)

Last edited by ath; 09-14-2006 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 09-14-2006, 01:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NatCh
They were banned because they were considered subversive, too racey, used racial descriptions that were common to the time they were written, and other reasons like that. In The U.S. this occurred mostly during the 1950's, I think.
I'm not sure about that. Even of the books on Google's site, quite a lot were written after the 1950s. The ALA's list of the 100 Most Challenged Books is here: http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedboo...frequently.htm

(Note that challenged doesn't mean "banned", it just means someone tried to have it banned. I do think that actual banning has dropped off quite a lot recently, but it hasn't disappeared since the 1950s.)

On that list are many fairly recent books, like Harry Potter, A Wrinkle in Time, and more.

However, as far as I know, the US federal government hasn't ever issued a wide-reaching ban on any book. The bans are usually local school districts, sometimes state-wide. (Of course, public schools are part of the government, so it's a murky division, but there's never been anything that was stopped at borders or criminalized.)
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Old 09-14-2006, 01:41 PM   #9
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I am shocked. There are still people burning books. Well, virtually speaking. Good thing, that we are all able to choose what we read ourselves, and are mature enough to be entiteled to our own oppinions.

BTW, i was just joking about the americans. I spent a year in the states and i know, that they are not all like some people want us to believe.

And for books beeing banned in germany, i just know, that "Mein Kampf" by Adolf Hitler is thought to be banned, but it is not. It is very controversly discussed here though, and when they copyright will expire in 2015, then there will be a decission made if it will really get banned. At the moment it just is not getting printed anymore. Censorship is done mostly by publisher in germany, not by law. If anyone knows an example of a banned book in germany, i really would like to know.
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Old 09-14-2006, 01:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ath
This particular list seems to be based on US prohibitions -- but there's also such a thing as Index Librorum Prohibitorum, the Vatican list of prohibited books, abolished in 1966. It contained (from time to time) authors like Defoe, Voltaire, Copernicus, Kant, Berkeley, and many others.
Yeah, the Google list is very US-centric. It also doesn't contain things like Mein Kampf or the works of the Marquis de Sade - I have heard (but I'm not positive) that those are banned in many European countries. I would be surprised if they hadn't also been banned in some places in the US, though ;-P

Browsing around the ALA's site, I found this disturbing story from 2005: http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedboo...highschool.htm

It involves a group of parents being allowed to burn copies of "Bless Me, Ultima" that had been used in the English class. I went to high school in Colorado, and also read "Bless Me, Ultima". (And I actually met the author, once). Scary to think that book-burnings still take place in this day and age.
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Old 09-14-2006, 08:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tribble
BTW, i was just joking about the americans. I spent a year in the states and i know, that they are not all like some people want us to believe.
Yeah, you just can't trust CNN sometimes.
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Old 09-15-2006, 09:48 AM   #12
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For the most part banned books are mainly litterary works pressing against religious beliefs, no matter what faith. Politically banned books are state and country matter and do not affect access anywhere else in the world.

I've got tons of them, most subjects are not really new or shocking but they are better not left in young mind's hands before a certain maturity of morality.

Last edited by yvanleterrible; 09-15-2006 at 09:49 AM. Reason: typo
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