I hope everyone had a lovely time reading banned books this week. I know several libraries in my area were doing read-ins and raffle drawings.
As I said previously, I have been reading The Count of Monte Cristo. I would not have thought of this as a “banned book” until in my research I discovered the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. This is a great long list of books and authors banned by the Catholic Church over several centuries (it was formally abolished in 1966). The author Alexandre Dumas appears on this list (although I’m not sure that The Count of Monte Cristo was specifically banned; according to this source, it was only his “love stories” that were prohibited to Catholics, and I don’t know if Monte Cristo is traditionally considered as one of his romances).
I have also discovered that Monte Cristo is a book that is commonly abridged. To me, this is quite different from censorship. An abridgement, if well done, can be a useful tool in making an important work and its ideas more palatable to a wider audience, such as children or people who are not great readers (like Elizabeth Bennet. ha!). If someone says that he has read The Count of Monte Cristo, I will not call him a liar if he says he read the abridged version. That said, I almost always prefer the unabridged version, just as I like to read things in the language in which they were written, or watch anime with subtitles. The copy of Monte Cristo I am reading on my Kindle was borrowed through my local library; it is published by digireads.com and I can’t find any info one way or another as to its completeness. I guess I don’t mind either way, but I do feel that abridged version of books should be clearly labeled.
The Count of Monte Christo was probably on the list of banned books because of the revenge it portrayed. Duelling etc… We’re not meant to foster such bitter vengeance in our hearts. While generally the movies on The Count of Monte Christo tend to have him repentant of such vengeance, I’m not sure the book does. My son read it for homeschool and hated the revenge aspect of the book, upset that I had him read and study it. I hadn’t realised it was on the list of banned books till after…