Karolides' Book

May 1, 1998

Karolides' Book Excerpted in George Magazine

By Maria Franco
UW-RF News Bureau

A University of Wisconsin-River Falls professor will have portions of his latest book excerpted in the June issue of George magazine.

Nicholas Karolides, UW-RF English professor and associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, has recently finished his eighth book, "Banned Books: Literature Suppressed on Political Grounds," and will have 10 of its 105 chapters excerpted in the monthly magazine known for its prominent publisher, John F. Kennedy Jr.

George magazine covers the politics of American life with a focus on politics as entertainment and the intersection of politics in everyday life.

Karolides' book is one in a set of four volumes written by separate authors, published by New York-based Facts On File, and scheduled to reach bookstores this June. The others in the series focus on books censored for erotic, religious or social reasons.

According to Leslie Granston, an assistant editor at George magazine, Karolides' book was chosen because it was an interesting and comprehensive body of work on censorship.

"Some of the censorship history stories were as compelling and gripping as the censored books themselves," she says. "Although many people may have read the books in discussion, many probably don't know the criticism the pieces have faced, or the obscure details concerning their history."

The magazine's audience is interested in politics at all levels, Granston points out, and the issue of censorship is one that most people don't read about every day.

"It is interesting to see that censorship goes well beyond the schools and that opposition comes from all sorts of facets. Through Karolides' book we were able to approach this issue in an entertaining and informative manner," says Granston.

Karolides says he is opposed to censorship as a citizen and as a teacher because it "blocks learning and denies thought; as such it is a significant threat to the American ideal of democracy. The democratic process depends on an enlightened citizenry-engaged and thinking individuals. Absolutely indispensable to these is the right of fundamental inquiry--the right to read."

The writing process for the book began with Karolides studying approximately 140 books that have been censored in the United States and the world for political reasons. He then narrowed the selection down to 105 that he felt were most important. The final product contains a variety of pieces, from fiction, nonfiction, and autobiographies, to history books, political analyses and adolescent novels.

Each chapter of Karolides' book includes a summary of the specific work being censored and a discussion of its censorship history.

The works discussed in the George magazine article were selected based on the criteria that they are among the most censored books, or they have a significantly egregious case history, Karolides said. All have been censored in the United States.

The George magazine excerpt will cover Karolides' treatment of these books: "All Quiet on the Western Front," by Erich Maria Remarque; "Black Boy," by Richard Wright; "Johnny Got His Gun," by Dalton Trumbo; "The Grapes of Wrath," by John Steinbeck; "Inside the Company: A CIA Diary," by Philip Agee; "Mein Kampf," by Adolf Hitler; "Decent Interval," by Frank Snepp; "I Am the Cheese," an adolescent novel by Robert Cormier; "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse," by Peter Matthiessen; and "1984," by George Orwell.

Karolides had help writing 20 of the chapters from his daughter Alexis, fellow faculty member Marshall Toman and four former UW-RF students, including Laurie Pap and Mitchell Fay.

Two of the excerpts are those written by former students: the chapter on "Mein Kampf," by 1997 graduate Eric P. Schmidt, and the chapter on "1984" by 1996 graduate Jane Graves.

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