Occidental College > LibrarySpecial Collections > Online Exhibits > Banned Books

The "Chandos" portrait
                of William Shakespeare, attributed to John Taylor, and
                part of National Portrait Gallery in London


Banned Books Week FAQ

Censored Works of Shakespeare

Famous Quotes

Additional Resources



Other Exhibits in Special Collections

Banned Books: Shakespeare Censored!

An online exhibition of the works of William Shakespeare that have been censored, challenged, and banned around the world.

Famous Quotes Regarding Censorship and Free Speech

"Without free speech no search for truth is possible... no discovery of truth is useful... Better a thousandfold abuse of free speech than denial of free speech. The abuse dies in a day, but the denial slays the life of the people, and entombs the hope of the race." - Charles Bradlaugh

"Debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust and wide-open and that...may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials." - William Brennan, New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964)

"Everyone is in favor of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people's idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone else says anything back, that is an outrage." - Winston Churchill

"Don't join the book burners. Don't think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed." - Dwight D. Eisenhower, speech at Dartmouth College, June 14, 1953

"Every burned book enlightens the world." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania

"One man's vulgarity is another's lyric." - John Marshall Harlan, Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971)

"To prohibit the reading of certain books is to declare the inhabitants to be either fools or slaves." - Claude Adrien Helvetius, De l' Homme

"Civil government cannot let any group ride roughshod over others simply because their consciences tell them to do so." - Robert H. Jackson

"Books and ideas are the most effective weapons against intolerance and ignorance." - Lyndon Baines Johnson, February 11, 1964

"It is impossible for ideas to compete in the marketplace if no forum for their presentation is provided or available." - Thomas Mann

"And yet on the other hand unless warinesse be us'd, as good almost kill a Man as kill a good Book; who kills a Man kills a reasonable creature, Gods Image, but hee who destroyes a good Booke, kills reason it selfe, kills the Image of God, as it were in the eye." - Milton, Areopagitica

"Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us." - Wiliam O. Douglas, The One Un-American Act, A Speech to the Author's Guild Council in New York (1951)

"Censorship of anything, at any time, in any place, on whatever pretense, has always been and always be the last resort of the boob and the bigot." - Eugene O'Neill

"What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist." - Salman Rushdie

"Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself. It is the hallmark of an authoritarian regime..." - Potter Stewart, Ginzberg v. United States, 383 U.S. 463 (1966)

"Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it." - Mark Twain

"The dirtiest book of all is the expurgated book."  - Walt Whitman




"Art made tongue-tied by authority."

-William Shakespeare, Sonnet 66

Page last edited by on 03/04/2013.
Occidental College Library Special Collections & College Archives
2011 Occidental College