Sunday, 19 October 2014

Ban this Book!


I have had an e-mail from PEN, of which I am of course a member, as all writers should be, asking for my support in a protest against the proposed banning of someone or other’s memoirs. (Albert Speer’s, Auntie Ida’s — it doesn’t matter whose, the principle is the same). Naturally I support the protest — there are never any grounds for banning a book. The purported grounds this time are that publication might cause psychological distress to someone or other. (Again, it doesn’t matter who.)

If we are to ban a book because it might cause someone psychological distress, then we shall have to ban everything from the Epic of Gilgamesh to the present day. I myself am caused psychological distress by the books — one can hardly call them works — of Jeffrey Archer. Should they therefore be banned? Actually, come to think of it …

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