The American Library Association recently announced that 2022 saw the highest number of reports of calls to remove or restrict books since it began compiling data more than 20 years ago. Censorship is once again becoming a hot-button issue, garnering a new generation of opinions, and bringing additional publicity to events such as Banned Books Week.
Georgetown University Professor and book critic for NPR’s Fresh Air, Maureen Corrigan takes a new look at a century’s old controversy in Banned Books, Burned Books: Forbidden Literary Works, now streaming exclusively on Wondrium.
Throughout these 24 eye-opening episodes, Corrigan takes us on a tour of some of the most challenged and controversial works of literature, from the plays of Shakespeare to 21st-century best-sellers—even including the dictionary and classic fairy tales.
Corrigan traces the common reasons books have been and continue to be banned and explores how the impulse to protect impressionable readers runs up against some of our most cherished principles such as free speech and an open exchange of ideas. She also considers the shifting trends in why books are challenged, and why this topic is coming back up in today’s headlines.
“Books are powerful. That’s the central idea that over 400 years of book banning affirms. And, ironically, for some books, the best thing that’s ever happened to them–in terms of popularity and cultural status–is that someone has tried to ban them,” notes Corrigan.
Maureen Corrigan is the Nicky and Jamie Grant Distinguished Professor of the Practice in Literary Criticism at Georgetown University. She is an American author, scholar, and literary critic. She is the book critic on the NPR radio program Fresh Air and writes for the “Book World” section of The Washington Post.
Wondrium is a media production company that produces nonfiction, educational, video and audio content, including courses, documentaries and series featuring leading experts. Wondrium distributes content globally to consumers by way of its streaming services, Wondrium.com and through DVDs and downloads on TheGreatCourses.com, as well as via third-party platforms like Audible, Amazon and Roku. Wondrium provides resources that complement people’s daily media habits, allowing them to pursue their passions, dig deeper into subjects, hone their habits, and find topics about which they will love to learn.