The National Library of Scotland hopes to provide a revealing insight into some of the most controversial material ever written by displaying a series of banned books this summer.

Infamous titles such as DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita are joined by many other books also considered unsuitable for public consumption at their time of publication, including school syllabus classic Lord of the Flies and the scripts of popular TV Show Father Ted.  

The exhibition opens on Friday 24 June and runs until 30 October.  It explores issues of censorship and how it this has differed between societies and over time.  It also focuses on the authors of banned titles, exploring the compromises and personal risks they endured as a result of their creations.

Martyn Wade, National Librarian and Chief Executive of the National Library of Scotland, said: “Over the centuries many books have been burned, censored or challenged by the state and religious authorities, and society itself, because their contents did not conform to the political, religious or moral codes of their day.

“Libraries such as the National Library of Scotland have a vital role in freedom of expression and speech, allowing everyone to explore knowledge and ideas now and into the future. 

“Our exhibition presents an opportunity for visitors to learn more about censorship and how it has differed over time and place, with a view to encouraging informed discussion and debate around these issues.”

The exhibition covers material dating back almost 500 years, from the Spanish Inquisition to more modern banned books such as Trainspotting and Harry Potter.

The Banned Books exhibition is open from June 24 – Oct 30 at the National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EW. For more information about the exhibition and its contents visit


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