Buy Banned Books

Brooks, Bonny
Date Written:  2018-01-30
Publisher:  Quillette
Year Published:  2018
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX22000

The article takes a look at 'banned books' in the social media era, where the 'imagination police' dominate and a form of 'fictional aparteid' is taking place, and moreover why we have a duty to buy them.



In the literary world, as in politics and the humanities, marginalised people have, rightly, demanded that their voices be heard. This is a good thing, and these days anyone with even a cursory acquaintance with the sphere of publishing would know that previously underrepresented voices are not just being 'given space,' they are actively sought out. Great. What is not great, however, is assessing a piece of literature's right to exist on the basis of the author's skin pigmentation, gender identity, or biography, or employing these categorisations as proxy for an analysis of the work's actual artistic merit. Have we forgotten that the imaginative process involved in fiction used to be valued for its own sake, embodying an aesthetic and moral ambition (for both writer and reader) to reach beyond the narcissism and self-interest that tend to afflict human beings?

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