Name: Balzac, Novels : "La Comedie Humaine," etc.

Date:  1800 - 1850

Location:  Europe , Russia and Central Asia , North America

SubjectPolitical/Economic/Social Opinion


Artist: Balzac, Honore de (1799-1850)

Confronting Bodies: The Church, Russian State, Canadian Customs, U.S. Customs, Franco

Date of Action: 1841

Specific Location: Italy, Russia, Canada, U.S.A., Spain

Description of Artwork:  Novels : "La Comedie Humaine," 1831-1847: His vast life work was arranged under the title in which he claimed at once to be a philosopher, explaining man to himself, a historian or "secretary" of society and a sociologist and psychologist. "Les Contes Drolatiques" (Droll Stories), 1832-1837.

Description of Incident: 1841: Rome, Italy: All works listed on the Index. 1850: Russia: All works banned. 1914, Canada: "Les Contes Drolatiques" (Droll Stories) banned by Customs.

Results of Incident: 1930, U.S.A.: Customs ban lifted. 1944, New York City, USA: Concords Books, Inc. issued a sale catalogue of 100 books for $.49 each including "Les Contes Drolatiques" (Droll Stories). They were notified by the Post Office Department that the catalogue violated the section relating to mailing of obscene literature, and that the title must be blocked out. This was done. 1953, Spain: Franco purged the libraries of the works of "such disgraceful writers" as Balzac. Soviet Union: Works published in large editions.

Source: Banned Books 387 B.C. to 1978 A.D., by Anne Lyon Haight, and Chandler B. Grannis, R.R. Bowker Co, 1978.

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