• Project Title: Banned Books in the Cold War

  • BASIS Advisor: Dr. Lisa Noudehou

  • Internship Location: The Center for Fiction

  • Onsite Mentor: Allison Escoto

Book censorship and political tension in the Cold War seem to go hand in hand with one another, but this project is concerned with books as political and social criticism during the time period 1945-1991. The study engages with Cold War authors and their corresponding fictional novels that were censored, challenged and banned in the United States and the Soviet Union, its inspiration stemming from the controversiality of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, as well as the current trade war or “Second Cold War” (as historians have described it) between the United States and communist China. Studying how novel censorship reflects political unrest in the First Cold War time period reveals the continuities of repressive governments between world powers and how literature is used to speak on political and societal issues. For the study, a list of compiled “banned books” were read, pertaining to both the U.S., U.S.S.R., or both, and both reaction response essays and analyses of the books and authors were written. I also discussed the topic of censorship with contemporary authors and joined a reading group of dystopian fiction. It was found that fear of certain books was caused by the political fear of opposing ideologies in the two world powers. The research was donated to the Center for Fiction to use for September’s Banned Books Month.