Book banning in practice.

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Book banning in practice.

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1Anager
Jan 16, 2012, 11:29am

To what extent is a book banned?

Would editing, translating or "just" limited access be considered a ban or is it exceptionally "no admittance" books?

I would appreciate your thoughts on the subject.

2drbubbles
Editado: Jan 16, 2012, 12:05pm

It depends upon what you think the necessary aspect of banning is. The result? The method? The motive?

To me, it's motive that makes a ban: specifically a desire to suppress ideas. So a ban would be a general-to-universal prohibition because of intellectual contents.

3lilithcat
Jan 16, 2012, 12:52pm

How on earth would "translating" a book be considered as limiting access? On the contrary, translation increases access.

4TLCrawford
Jan 16, 2012, 3:09pm

As lilithcat said translating a book increases its availability but refusing to translate a book would be a form of censorship. I don't have any specifics but I believe that the reason many classic Greek medical texts were not translated into Latin until late in the middle ages had to do with the Church's instance that healing the soul took precedence over healing the body.

Here in the US we do not officially have any form of book banning however local school libraries often find themselves pressured by special interest groups to remove books from the libraries shelves that the interest group feels is harmful for other people to read. Even when they are successful they fail to prevent people from reading it, they just make it slightly harder to find and generate interest in the book.

Every now and then the US government decides to censor a book by editing out selected information by blacking out the print. I don't know how successful that tactic is in a book.

5Anager
Jan 18, 2012, 10:48am

Completely missed out on Crawfords version!

My original point in adding "translation" to the list of possible limitations, was the idea of specific "forbidden/harmfull" words occuring in foreign texts and "complicated sentences" being "rearranged for reading comprehension", as say, the nominative and accusative form of Britain and Germany suddenly switching places in an Orwell translation or a pro-capitalist exclamation disappearing from a Korean or Russian "Bleak House".

My original question arose from an online review of a Danish bookseries, "The Adventures of Peder Most" which stated that the works had been cleaned of "racist wording" in the seventies. That set me thinking: when is a book a book? How much can you remove from a work before it is an altogether different work?

6quicksiva
Jan 20, 2012, 6:35pm


The word Muari meant "free African" when Apuleius wrote the Golden Ass. By the time later translations happened, the word had lost its meaning. Robert Graves dropped it from Isis' speech, thus removing any reference to a Mauritania from an important second century historical document.

7Anager
Jan 26, 2012, 8:46am

I noticed that this topic is dealt with in the Mark Twain thread, but thanks for the replies!