Censorship and Contemporary World Literature Criticism: Notorious Cases - Essay

Michael B. Goodman (essay date 1980)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Goodman, Michael B. “The Customs' Censorship of William Burroughs' Naked Lunch.Critique 22, no. 1 (1980): 92-104.

[In the following essay, Goodman discusses the process by which Burroughs's novel was seized by the U.S. Customs Service in 1959 and subsequently banned as an obscene work.]

With its descriptions of violent eroticism, William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch (1959) hit a sensitive cultural nerve more forcefully than other books which discussed sex explicitly. It dealt vividly with the interrelationship of sex and violence, with sex and cannibalism, with bestiality, and with homosexual exploitation. Through his caricatures of sexual...

(The entire section is 5413 words.)

Aamir Mufti (essay date 1994)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Mufti, Aamir. “Reading the Rushdie Affair: ‘Islam,’ Cultural Politics, Form.” In The Administration of Aesthetics: Censorship, Political Criticism, and the Public Sphere, edited by Richard Burt, pp. 307-39. Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press, 1994.

[In the following essay, Mufti explores the cultural, political, and aesthetic forces at work in the reception of Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses.]

Gayatri Spivak has argued that, in the case of The Satanic Verses, “the praxis and politics of life” intercept the aesthetic object to such a degree that a “mere reading” of the novel has become impossible.1 In...

(The entire section is 12826 words.)

Pamela Hunt Steinle (essay date 2000)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Steinle, Pamela Hunt. “The Catcher Controversies as Cultural Debate.” In In Cold Fear: The Catcher in the Rye Censorship Controversies and Postwar American Character, pp. 106-39. Columbus, Oh.: Ohio State University Press, 2000.

[In the excerpt below, Steinle examines the various reasons cited for withdrawing J. D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye from school district curricula in the 1950s through the 1980s.]

Ask yourself, What do we want in this country, above all? People want to be happy, isn't that right? Haven't you heard it all your life? I want to be happy, people say. Well, aren't they? Don't we keep...

(The entire section is 16488 words.)