Friday, October 8, 2010

Boyd Tonkin's supplemental list...

I posted a short while ago on the books that are "mad, bad, and dangerous to read" according to the blog Banned Books.  Today I found another website called BookTryst which wrote about a few additions to the list from the British website by journalist Boyd Tonkin:
For British journalist Boyd Tonkin, literary editor of The Independent, the London list plays it way too safe. It contains, for the most part, what could be called the usual suspects of banned book lists, such as Huckleberry Finn, To Kill A Mockingbird, Brave New World, 1984, and Catch-22. According to Tonkin, "this selection errs too much on the cosy side," and will "reinforce a glib sense of superiority towards redneck Bible-bashers, small-town prudes and Stalinist apparatchiks." He responds by creating his own list of 10 additional titles, which "might stir a tougher discussion of the costs, and benefits, of truly free expression."
These supplemental books suggested by Tonkin, are as follows:
1/ Sherry Jones, The Jewel of Medina. Criminal violence prevented a UK edition of this novel about the Prophet's wife Aisha, after an attack on its publisher's home. 

2/ David Britton, Lord Horror. Cleared of obscenity in 1992, Britton's sulphurous blend of Holocaust themes and SM porn made Savoy Books in Manchester the most prosecuted publisher in Britain. 

3/ Osama bin Laden, Messages to the World. Expertly edited by Bruce Lawrence, this collection of the al-Qa'eda leader's statements will not be gracing any display shelf soon. 

4/ "Richard E Howard" (ie Richard Verrall), Did Six Million Really Die? This Holocaust-denial pamphlet by a National Front stalwart still sways neo-Nazi minds. 

5/ Richard Lynn, The Global Bell Curve. The psychologist advocates the central role of inherited racial differences in intelligence, putting East Asians at the top and sub- Saharan Africans near the bottom of an ethnic IQ scale . 

6/ Marquis de Sade, The 120 Days of Sodom. For some the magnum opus of the "divine marquis", his industrial-scale porn epic comes (in a recent edition) prefaced with de Beauvoir's essay, "Must we burn Sade?". No, the great feminist said. 

7/ Pauline Réage, Story of O. The most notable novel by a woman in the Sadeian tradition, in all its icy masochistic poise. The author's real name was Anne Declos. 

8/ AM Homes, The End of Alice. As much a reversed-out Lovely Bones as a homage to Lolita, Amy Homes's fictional journey into the paedophile mind prompted calls for its banning from the NSPCC. 

9/ Sayed Qutb, Milestones. In this core text for jihadis, the Egyptian ideologist fashioned a still-influential manifesto for every later generation of angry, militant Islamists. 

10/ Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf. We know too much about the message, but what about the royalties? A Jewish charity sent back cash received from them; does the state of Bavaria still hold the rights?
Have you read any of these titles?  Do you think they cross any sort of boundaries or lines at which we should think about censoring them?  Share your thoughts.

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