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Topic: Classic books that probably wouldn't / couldn't be published today

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Subject: Classic books that probably wouldn't / couldn't be published today
Date Posted: 2/19/2009 6:05 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
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I was reading reviews of Gone with the Wind on Goodreads, and someone commented that Gone with the Wind is book that likely would never be accepted for publication today.  It's a sentiment I agree with (and I know this is an unpopular opinion) due to the deeply racist nature of the novel.

It got me thinking though, what other novels that are well-loved and revered as classics probably could not or would not be published today due to themes or even just the changing nature of modern taste? 

ETA: I'm not saying that I agree that some books should not be published. I'm only agreeing with the sentiment that some books probably would not be published today. As much as I despise Gone with the Wind and am confused by how many people adore it, I'm not about to say it never should have been published.



Last Edited on: 4/9/09 4:00 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 2/20/2009 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2007
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I don't think The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn would ever see the light of day. In fact, it seems like it's being suppressed more and read less now. Which is a crying shame.

 

Date Posted: 2/21/2009 9:05 AM ET
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I wonder if Lolita would be published if it were written today?

Date Posted: 2/21/2009 3:11 PM ET
Member Since: 2/10/2009
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Oh gosh.  I hated Lolita.  It made me cringe the entire way through it, but I was reading "Reading Lolita in Tehran" and felt an obligation to finish it.  Ugh.  I must say, it still is quite popular.

In fact, a lot of the books that wouldn't be considered PC today are still very popular.  Hmmmm...makes me wonder!

Date Posted: 2/21/2009 3:17 PM ET
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Oh, wow, I love Lolita. 

With Huck Finn it's such an interesting question.  With most of these books I think it's more a case that no one would write them, rather than no one would publish them.  Books are such a product of the world they were created in, I think.

Date Posted: 2/21/2009 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2005
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Moby Dick perhaps.

 

Date Posted: 2/22/2009 9:41 PM ET
Member Since: 2/10/2009
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Oh, now see...I LOVED Moby Dick.  Absolutely loved it, especially considering its historical context.  Loved it. ;)

Date Posted: 2/22/2009 10:12 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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I love Moby Dick too, but agree that it probably wouldn't stand a chance today.

Date Posted: 2/22/2009 10:21 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
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Maybe if Melville had added a series of really meta footnotes...

Date Posted: 2/23/2009 4:16 PM ET
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Grapes of Wrath and most of Steinbecks works I do not think would be published.  Grapes of Wrath did so well due to the political climate of the time as well as community/ social issues.

I think most books would be published theses days, they would just not be as popular or could have gone the self publish route.

Geri (geejay) -
Date Posted: 2/23/2009 5:29 PM ET
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I heard that Tom Sawyer was in the same category as Huckleberry Finn.  Isn't it a shame?  I loved those when I read them the first time when I was about 10 or 11.  I loved them every time I reread them too.   

Date Posted: 2/24/2009 1:00 AM ET
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I wonder if books such as Heidi would be published today. They just seem to simpery sweet for children today. 

Date Posted: 2/25/2009 12:24 AM ET
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I wonder if books such as Heidi would be published today. They just seem to simpery sweet for children today.

Or Little Lord Fauntleroy. That one made me gag when I was a kid, and I had a pretty high saccharine tolerance back then.

Date Posted: 3/3/2009 8:52 PM ET
Member Since: 3/1/2009
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I think One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest wouldn't have had the gigantic following if it had been published anyother time, though I must admit I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Date Posted: 3/7/2009 1:10 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2009
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Uncle Tom's Cabin

Date Posted: 3/7/2009 3:28 PM ET
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I wonder if books such as Heidi would be published today. They just seem to simpery sweet for children today.

Little Women and a lot of Louisa May Alcott's works; it seems like the children always want to "be good."  I always got tired of reading that -- often in those very words.

 

 

Date Posted: 3/9/2009 9:53 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
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I doubt Les Miserables would have been published today, with it's long winded 50 pages of nothing popping up everywehere.

Date Posted: 3/10/2009 7:10 PM ET
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Most of Joseph Conrad and Rudyard Kipling. Their books were very racist from our viewpoint today. Then again so were a lot of books from the 19th century.

Date Posted: 3/15/2009 12:32 AM ET
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How about the Nancy Drew series or The Hardy Boys.  I loved them as a kid.  Do kids still read them?  I tried to get my grandson to read "The Hardy Boys" and all he wanted to read was Harry Potter books.

Date Posted: 3/15/2009 5:15 PM ET
Member Since: 8/6/2006
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I heard that Tom Sawyer was in the same category as Huckleberry Finn.

I made a story reference to Tom Sawyer just this morning and my 12 yo DD didn't know what I was talking about.  I asked if they had read it in school and she said she'd never heard of it.  I guess it's just not "politically correct" anymore.  How sad.  I'm still going to try to get her to read it. 

Date Posted: 3/27/2009 4:54 PM ET
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I think if The Wizard of Oz were written today it would get some resistence with all its witches.  Just like some people were upset about the Harry Potter books for the same reason.

Date Posted: 3/28/2009 1:44 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2009
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I guess I don't understand why a book like Huck Finn WOULDN'T be published today because it was as historically accurate as it could be!  It even describes in my copy how the dialect of the african americans in 2 sections of the books were different and rightly so because Twain had studied to make sure it was all correct.  I understand a book based during our era, but really, where would we be without books like Huck Finn?  Political correctness has come in the way of everything.  For those of you who haven't read them, Gwen Bristow's plantation series (Deep Summer, Handsome Road, This Side Of Glory)  are a GREAT read and probably would not be published today even though they were from the 40's and 50's.  I enjoyed them, and they were WAY better than any trashy historical romance novel : ) Celia Garth is another to try too if you are interested!

Date Posted: 4/4/2009 8:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2008
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I think that many classics, like Lolita and Lady Chatterly's Lover, whose "touchy" subject matter is sexual, could be published much, much more easily in the U.S. today than they were at the time.  Even if a publisher were willing, the law was against them.  U.S. publication--and sometimes even publication in more permissive countries like France--was often delayed for years.

But I agree that the casual racism in many older books is shocking to modern readers.  A lot of minor references that aren't central to the plot would now be edited out, in my opinion for the better.  On the other hand, books that deal with issues like racism head-on have always been controversial, and many publishers now find success by cultivating controversy.  So who knows?  Sometimes I have fun trying to guess which parts of our current attitudes are going to look horribly dated in the future.

Date Posted: 4/4/2009 8:31 PM ET
Member Since: 4/21/2007
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I guess I don't understand why a book like Huck Finn WOULDN'T be published today because it was as historically accurate as it could be!  It even describes in my copy how the dialect of the african americans in 2 sections of the books were different and rightly so because Twain had studied to make sure it was all correct.  I understand a book based during our era, but really, where would we be without books like Huck Finn?  Political correctness has come in the way of everything.  For those of you who haven't read them, Gwen Bristow's plantation series (Deep Summer, Handsome Road, This Side Of Glory)  are a GREAT read and probably would not be published today even though they were from the 40's and 50's.  I enjoyed them, and they were WAY better than any trashy historical romance novel : ) Celia Garth is another to try too if you are interested!

 

I whole heartedly agree with you.

PC getting in the way of what is read today is so, so wrong. All I can say is "Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it." Only these days we need to change the word "forget" to "surpress" *shakes head* When will the human race ever learn? Or should I ask; will they ever learn at all?