Banned Books That Shaped America: Howl

The Library of Congress created an exhibit, “Books that Shaped America,” that explores books that “have had a profound effect on American life.” Many of the books in the exhibit have been banned/challenged.  Give yourself the gift of a beautiful story and read one and them imagine what your life would be like if you were never given that gift.

Fight censorship.

Howl, Allen Ginsberg, 1956

Following in the footsteps of other “Shaping America” book Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg’s boundary-pushing poetic works were challenged because of descriptions of homosexual acts.

howl

Ginsberg began work on “Howl” as early as 1954. In the Paul Blackburn Tape Archive at U.C.S.D., Ginsberg can be heard reading early drafts of his poem to his fellow writing associates. “Howl” is considered to be one of the great works of American literature. It came to be associated with the group of writers known as the Beat Generation, which included Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs.

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