Monday, September 23, 2013

Gothic September and Banned Books Week

It's the final week of Gothic September. I hope you've been getting in some good Gothic reading. I've been enjoying our read-a-long of Robert Parry's The Arrow Chest. Such a wonderful book! I'll be sharing a guest post from Robert this week so stay tuned for that.

It's also Banned Books Week and I wanted to do some posts this week about books fitting to this blog's aesthetic which have been banned/challenged. Today I'm going to share what I would consider two of the most important titles in Gothic fiction and the reasons for their being challenged/banned in the past. But first, a little note on why challenged books are just as important as books that were actually banned...

"Challenges are as important to document as actual bannings, in which a book is removed from the shelves of a library or bookstore or from the curriculum at a school. Attempts to censor can lead to voluntary restriction of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy; in these cases, material may not be published at all or may not be purchased by a bookstore, library, or school district." (source)

Bram Stoker's Dracula has been challenged in the past for the following..."the book contains unacceptable descriptions in the intro, such as 'Dracula is the symptom of a wish, largely sexual, that we wish we did not have."

In 1955, the New York Times reported that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was banned by South Africa's Apartheid regime due to it being "indecent, objectionable, obscene."

I have not read Frankenstein yet, but have read Dracula. I think it's a downright shame to deprive anyone of the opportunity to read these classic novels. Would that we could hear the authors' thoughts on their books being challenged/banned.

To learn more about Banned Books Week, visit


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