The power of the written word
01 Sep 21
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Categories: English and Creative Writing, Undergradute
The recent decision of Dr Suess’ Estate to remove six of his books from publication has caused uproar. The books contain overtly racist illustrations, and most people will never have even heard of them. However, it hasn't stopped public outcry over their removal, and it does raise an important question – should books ever be banned?
When English Creative Writing Gets You in Trouble
Banning books occurs for many reasons, including challenging the accepted moral and sexual standards of the time. Lady Chatterley's Lover is a prime example. Not only did it include sexual descriptions, but it dared to suggest that women could enjoy sex.
Other books initially banned for their sexual content include Brave New World, Tropic of Cancer, Ulysses and Lolita. All of which would now be considered tame by modern erotica standards.
It’s not just sex that can get your book banned. Fiction and non-fiction works that challenge the established order are often swiftly removed from publication, made illegal, or discredited and quietly side-lined.
Thomas Mann, Kafka and Albert Einstein’s works were among those added to the book-burning piles of the Nazi's in 1933. Erich Remarque's graphic descriptions of war in All Quiet on the Western Front caused ripples throughout the Western world. George Orwell's Animal Farm remains banned in several countries for its political commentary and in some countries for containing a talking pig.
Today, schools, stores and libraries ban books for many reasons, especially across the USA. One American school board bans books that do not align with its religious and scientific views. Books that portray LGBTQ+ relationships, sexuality, gender identity and coming of age explorations are regularly pulled from circulation.
Amazon bans books it consider conspiracy theories, that debunk the holocaust and, more recently, that challenge transgender identity. Amazon states that it had a clear selling policy that the titles breach. The books sold out on other platforms. Did their ban have any effect? Did the media frenzy that accompanied their decision increase interest in the material?
What do you think? Should books be banned for any reason? What about when they no longer align with our social, moral or political outlook? Should they be banned if they degrade people, cause potential harm or include falsehoods and inaccuracies?
These are just some of the questions you can raise on our English and Creative Writing courses at the University of Bolton. Explore your creativity and enjoy #UniAsItShouldBe by getting in touch today.
What Does the Future Hold for Books?
Books help shape who we are and how we see the world. They reflect our beliefs, give us hope, show us what our darker natures are capable of and take us away from the mundane.
Banning books for any reason cannot be done lightly or without considering the broader implications. Understanding these consequences is just as important as understanding the writer or illustrator's motivation. If you are looking to express your voice, these are questions you will need to grapple with.
Studying English and Creative Writing degrees at the University of Bolton encourages you to appreciate classic literature and more contemporary writing. You get to explore these works in context and understand the authors’ motivations. You will gain a greater appreciation for language and its uses; you may even find that you have a flair for writing.
Our courses are taught in small groups with good staff-to-student ratios to ensure positive and supportive learning environments. We take pride in putting our students first, which is why we have been voted No. 1 for Student Satisfaction for three years running.*
Take the first step in joining our diverse and dedicated learning community by learning more about our English and Creative Writing degrees. Call us on +44 (0)1204 900 600 or email email@example.com for more information.
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*Complete University Guide – North West Region 2019, 2020, 2021
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