Canada is awesome. The women there are witchy and mysterious and emotionally unknowable. Toronto gave us Robbie Robertson. And Martin Short, whose work, in generally, doesn’t jazz me up, but man, that Jimminy Glick thing was pure genius.
Americans are jealous of Canadians for, among other things, the free health care. In fact, once a Canadian bought some books at the Library, and was like, “Wow, only $8 in tax? California is so cheap!”
Can you imagine?
But Canadians are like us in many ways too. They ban books.
For example, they banned “Tropic of Cancer.”
“50 years ago on Nov. 25, the Toronto Public Library Board surrendered its only four copies of Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer to Canadian customs officials.
Miller’s breathless, semi-autobiographical tale of a licentious, hard-drinking sexual animal — an American expat writer, no less — in 1930s Paris had been banned in Canada since 1938.
After an initial refusal by the chief librarian to hand over the books, which had been in circulation since they’d been slipped into the country illegally from the United States that September, the law-abiding library finally caved.
“Any self-respecting public library shouldn’t have (Tropic of Cancer) on its shelves,” board chairman W. Harold Male said at the time. (Male also admitted to not having read the book.)”
And here are five other books banned in Canada (no one’s perfect, eh?)
* Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer. Based on Miller’s own WWII experiences in the Pacific, the book was banned in 1948. The prose, rife with off-colour language and violence, was “shockingly realistic for the period,” Carefoote said. The ban was lifted in 1949 following an influential expose on censorship by Maclean’s magazine.
* Ulysses, by James Joyce. One day in the life of Dubliner Leopold Bloom, the book was banned from 1923 to 1949 because of its “rude depictions of biological and scatological functions of the body,” Carefoote said.
Peyton Place, Grace Metalious. Details social injustice and sexual discovery — abortion and incest included — among women in a small New England town. The book was banned by Customs in 1956 for its vulgarity, then made legal two years later.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence. Published in 1928, the story of an illicit, inter-class affair in early 20th century Britain was known for its frank depictions of sexuality. The book was legalized by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1962.
The Diviners, by Margaret Laurence. Published in 1974, Laurence’s prairie novel, which won a Governor General’s Literary Award, about race, poverty and sexuality, was never banned federally, but a series of obscenity challenges in Ontario in the mid-1970s sought to have the book stricken from school curricula. The controversy led to the creation of Freedom to Read Week in 1984.