Posts Tagged ‘Banned Books’

You cannot pass by the title “Joseph Anton”  between regular newly issued books in a Beirut bookstore without noticing it. Joseph – from Conrad, Anton – from Chekhov, is the name the British novelist Salman Rushdie used for himself during his years of hiding and has chosen as a title of his recently published memoir. While the book is now available in Beirut, its author is still banned in relation to his highly controversial novel The Satanic Verses.

Rushdie's memior in a Beirut Bookshop

Salman Rushdie’s “Joseph Anton- a memoir” in a Beirut Bookshop

On February 14, 1989, Salman Rushdie received a phone call from a BBC reporter informing him he was the subject of a death fatwa issued by Iran’s leader Ayatollah Khomeini. (more…)


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Throughout history, the fate of pioneering thought and pioneering books has always been hard and the fate of pioneering writers is, most of the time, tough and merciless. Such writers gain during their lifetime more enemies and fame than readers and money. But these in particular are the minds that trigger big leaps in the progress of science and society; even though they are systemically victims of sever repression. History is full with examples of writers tortured and books burned.

One of the most interesting pioneering arabic books is Lous Awad’s “Introduction to the Jurisprudence of the Arabic Language”, the controversial book that questioned the origin and history of Arabs and arabic language. This book may be the only one (other than Taha Hussein’s “On Jahili Poetry”) to doubt and debate the conventional history of a language considered sacred by millions of Muslims around the world. Awad’s “Introduction” was censored and banned (and still is in Egypt and some Arab countries) soon after it was issued in 1981. Researchers and critics had no reach to the contents of the book and views it contained other than the articles and books written against it. Ironically one of the main sources to access Awad’s prohibited theories was the book of his enemy Badrawi Zahran “Refuting the Slanders Against Quraan and it’s Language and other Absurdities Fabricated by the Arabized Crusade Louis Awad” (all this a title!!). But did Awad really fabricate slanders and does his book contain absurdities, and which beliefs did Awad question and doubt to deserve such hostility and condemnation?

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