After being banned for 105 years, patrons of the Charlton Public Library in Massachusetts can finally get their hands on the book Eve’s Diary by Mark Twain. The book, Twain’s satirical version of the Adam and Eve story, was banned in 1906 for its illustrations of a naked Eve.
According to this Reuters article, the library’s director stated, “I think there’ll be a lot of interest in taking it out.” The library prepared to meet that interest by stocking two paperbacks of the book. Yes, two.
But the truth is, that when a Library expels a book of mine and leaves an unexpurgated Bible lying around where unprotected youth and age can get hold of it, the deep unconscious irony of it delights me and doesn’t anger me. -Mark Twain
After reviewing all the illustrations in the story, those two above appear to be the most egregious of the bunch. Most show Eve’s breasts either nipple-less, or covered by her hair. Nothing more anatomically correct than a naked Barbie, or maybe more time appropriate, a dressmaker’s dummy .
Twain’s work is no stranger to being banned, or censored, as with the recent case of a publisher changing The Adventures Of Huckelberry Finn by replacing certain racial epithets. That decision might seem easy to live with, but let’s hope that publisher never works on any history books.
What did Samuel Clemens say about censorship? Here’s one quote regarding the banning of Huck Finn from the Denver Library:
“There’s nobody for me to attack in this matter even with soft and gentle ridicule–and I shouldn’t ever think of using a grown up weapon in this kind of a nursery. Above all, I couldn’t venture to attack the clergymen whom you mention, for I have their habits and live in the same glass house which they are occupying. I am always reading immoral books on the sly, and then selfishly trying to prevent other people from having the same wicked good time.”
If you would like to exercise your wickedness you can find Eve’s Diary, complete with illustrations, available to read online, by Kindle, or most other e-readers at Project Gutenberg.