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A new adaptation of the classic novel “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” is hitting Netflix this winter, bringing the literature-class staple to life for a fresh audience. What you might not know, though, is just how controversial a history the book has had over the years. Today, it’s the basis for a buzzy, sexy Netflix movie, but it’s also been a frequent member of banned-books lists, was censored for decades, and even was the subject of multiple landmark cases over publishing, free speech, and obscenity.
It’s far from the only famous work of literature that has been banned. As we’ve all seen, even (and especially) in recent years, book banning — the practice of removing books that are controversial, discuss difficult topics, or are just too far ahead of their time — is all too common a practice. You’re used to seeing classics like “Lord of the Flies,” “The Catcher in the Rye,” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” on these lists, but there are plenty of other challenging books from across the years — even up through today — that have found themselves targeted by book banners.
Take a look through our list for some of the most intriguing and important books that have been banned over the last century of literature!
— Additional reporting by Amanda Prahl