Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

More Evil Books

Yesterday, I jumped on Majikthise's meme train with a list of "challenged" books and indications as to how many I had read.

I also offered invitations to Emily, Brian, and the crew at Bloodless, each of whom has thrown in and passed it on.

One of Emily's designees not only posted his own list, but came back with the even more challenging slightly-right-of-McCarthy Human Events list of the Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th centuries. With the youth fiction quotient non-existent on this list (Baltar ought to be pleased), and its brevity (thirty books including honorable mentions), it's a much tougher list. As a function of percentage, however, I appear to fall in the same range as with the other list, and I suspect the Bloodless crew will score very well on this since it is a collection of books common to academe (which is probably a pretty good proxy, from an arch conservative point of view, for "dangerous" books) and Brian, philosophy reader non pareil, also should do well.

Here are those I've read (in significant part):

1. Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto (natch)

5. Dewey, Democracy and Education

6. Marx, Das Kaptial, Marx

7. Friedan, The Feminine Mystique

9. Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

Then from the "Honorable[??] Mentions:"

Mill, On Liberty

Darwin, Origin of Species

Foucault, Madness and Civilization

Gramsci, Prison Notebooks

Freud, Introduction to Pscyhoanalysis

A grand tally of ten out of thirty, but five of the top ten!!! I suppose this means either I'm an academic, a communist, or both. Well, I'm no academic . . . although I am a bit of a fetishist.

Emily already has posted her list. Will Brian and Bloodless? Will Majikthise and her designees?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oopsie. I didn't know we were supposed to pass it on... sorry.

1:59 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

I think I actually got that second list from Majikthise a few months back.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

with only 9, i feel like a very slipshod academic. these lists have convinced me i ought to shift my dissertation topic to marginally subversive children's lit.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Samiyam said...

I just surfed across your page, and I want to respond here to the "most harmful books" list, because doing it at the original website isn't going to be very useful.

And it sometimes amazes me that there are still people in America who think books can be "harmful." When I say "still" I mean any time after the Nazi book burnings that they give lip service to decrying (Mein Kampf being second on their list).

I think a book can be harmful if it falls on a broken toe or if you try to swallow it whole. But then I think the Webster's Unabridged Third Edition would have to be near the top of the list. Mein Kampf is such a little book.

The suggestion that READING a book can be harmful is just at the basis of arch-conservative thought I suppose. I think it is telling that #17 on the list, the Origin of the Species, is the basis for essentially all of modern biology. That it is considered "harmful" is proof that there are plenty of people who can't stand curiosity. They want us to get rid of Darwin and go back to Aristotle.

Watch out. With Darwin gone, Gallileo is next. Let's put the Earth back at the middle of the solar system and get rid of the planets beyond Saturn.

10:09 AM  

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