We asked faculty and staff of the law school to write to us about their favorite banned book. To give them some ideas we included a list of classic novels that were banned at one time or another: One more staff member and one member of the faculty have responded, and their remarks are below.
Professor of Law Richard Warner wrote:
I spent a good part of my senior year reading Ulysses under the supervision of Ian Watt [Stanford professor and literary critic], who made me see that it was laugh out loud funny. People associate it with its stylistic innovations, but it is also a great comic novel. Both the style and the comedy inspired Catch-22, another banned book.
Gwen Osborne, Public Affairs Director, wrote:
My pick is Their Eyes Were Watching God, author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston’s best known work. First published in 1937, the novel explores issues of race, gender and class through the life of Janie Crawford Killicks Starks Woods. In Janie, Hurston created a strong, independent African-American female character unlike most black women found in fiction of that time. The book’s central theme of women’s empowerment still resonates more than 75 years after it was published. Zora Neale Hurston died in obscurity in 1960 and the book was out of print for nearly 30 years until Alice Walker — then a college professor — resurrected interest in Hurston’s life and work. It’s not surprising that Walker’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple, contains many of the same themes as Their Eyes Were Watching God and is also a banned and challenged book.