Books like any other work of art are subjected to negative criticism. Moreover, when a book pushes boundaries it gets burned, banned or the author gets death threats. There are significant books in history that have stirred up controversy in many countries. Here are six books that are the most controversial books of all time.
List Of Most Controversial Books Of All Time:
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie is one of the most controversial books of all time. The book was originally published 1988. The book is partly based on the story of life of the Prophet Mohammad. The story begins just before dawn on one winter morning, when a hijacked jetliner explodes above the English Channel. As the debris falls, two figures, Gibreel Farishta, the biggest star in India. Along with Saladin Chamcha, an expatriate returning from his first visit to Bombay in fifteen years, plummet from the sky. Washing up on the snow-covered sands of an English beach, and they proceed through a series of metamorphoses, dreams, and revelations.
After the publication of the book many followers of Islam found the book to be incredibly offensive on multiple fronts, angering Muslims around the world. Ayatollah Khomeini who was Supreme Leader of Iran, ordered a fatwa, that is he ordered Muslims to kill Rushdie. There were subsequent bombings to bookstores who sold the book and threats on Rushdie’s life. The book was banned and burned in countries around the world. It did received critical acclaim and continues to be sold today.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Lolita is a novel by Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov published in 1955. It is the story of the unhealthy obsession of the middle-aged literary professor Humbert Humbert with the 12-year-old Dolores Haze, whom he nicknames Lolita. He marries Mrs Haze Lolita’s mother just to be close to Lolita. Humbert suffers greatly in romance. When Lolita starts looking for attention elsewhere, he carries her off on a cross-country misadventure, all in the name of Love. Lolita is a story of obsession, delusion and lust. While some may call it a literary classic there are still many who call it an erotic novel.
The Catcher In The Rye by J. D Salinger
The Catcher In The Rye is one of the great classic novels by J.D Salinger which was also controversial. The book categorized as a young-adult novel was published in 1951. The book follows three days in the life of a sixteen year old Holden Caulfield as he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City.It is a novel about teenage angst and rebellion. Due to the liberal use of profanity, portrayal of sexuality and blasphemy the book was challenged by many and considered controversial.
Tropic Of Cancer by Henry Miller
Henry Miller’s novel ‘Tropic Of Cancer’ was published in 1934. When the book was published in France it was considered controversial due to its unrestrained misogyny, sexually graphic content, and themes of toxic masculinity. When it was published in America it led to multiple obscenity trials across the country. In one trial one judge said that it wasn’t a book, but rather “a cesspool, an open sewer, a pit of putrefaction, a slimy gathering of all that is rotten in the debris of human depravity.” Tropic Of Cancer by Henry Miller is mixture of memoir and fiction, which follows the risqué adventures of a young writer, his friends, and the characters they meet in Paris in the 1930s. The book is now considered an American classic.
The Myth Of The Holy Cow by Dwijendra Narayan Jha
The Myth Of The Holy Cow by Dwijendra Narayan Jha was hugely controversial when it was published in India in 2004. In the book Narayan Jha talks about the practice of eating beef in ancient India as documented in Vedic and Post-Vedic texts. Since Hindus traditionally consider the cow holy and deny the claims of beef consumption during the Vedic period, the book caused much controversy. After the publication, Jha received death threats over the book and the book was banned.
Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi And His Struggle With India by Joseph Lelyveld
Joseph Lelyveld, the Pulitzer Prize winning author, wrote a biography of Mahatma Gandhi titled ‘Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi And His Struggle With India’. It was published in 2011. The book is divided between the time that Mahatma Gandhi spent in South Africa and his return to India. Great Soul follows him as he emerges as one of history’s most remarkable self-creations and a prosperous lawyer who was wholly dedicated to political and social action.
Lelyveld takes readers step-by-step through the last months of Mahatma Gandhi’s long non-violent campaign when his efforts ended in the partition of India, the creation of Pakistan, and his assassination. It is in the list of Most Controversial Books Of All Time mostly because. After publication of the book, it was banned in the state of Gujarat. In the book, Joseph suggests that Mahatma Gandhi had an intimate relationship with a German-Jewish architect, Hermann Kallenbach. Also he lived with whom in Johannesburg for two years. Many believed that Joseph Lelyveld was implying this was a homosexual relationship and it led to the book being promptly banned by the government in Gujarat.
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