Books that seem fairly uncontroversial today such as The Grapes of Wrath, Brave New World, Catch-22, and Fareinheit-451 were actually incredibly controversial when they were published—and in some places, they were even banned.
What, if anything, can these fixtures within the literary canon teach us about the controversial material that we read today?
In the Learn Liberty video below, Northwestern University Professor Laura Kipnis explains how she has been on the receiving end of controversy over an essay she wrote on the attitude toward sexual relationships on college campuses.
Kipnis argues that it’s in creative writers’ own interest to promote freedom of expression. The history of writing is a history of questioning dominant societal values in order to improve well-being. In this sense, censoring writing threatens to censor societal progress.