"It is folly for an eminent man to think of escaping censure, and a weakness to be affected with it. All the illustrious persons of; antiquity, and indeed of every age in the world, have passed through this fiery persecution."

English essayist, poet, and statesman (1672-1719)

"Censorship is a good thing. Thus every book gets at least one attentive reader."

English playwright (1939-)

"As long as I don't write about the government, religion, politics, and other institutions, I am free to print anything."

Pierre-Augustin BEAUMARCHAIS
French comedy writer (1732-1799)

"If censorship reigns there cannot be sincere flattery, and only small men are afraid of small writings."

Pierre-Augustin BEAUMARCHAIS
French comedy writer (1732-1799)

"As might be supposed I have not had the time, nor may I add the inclination to read through this book. I have, however, read pages 690 to 732…"

Sir Archibald BODKIN
Director of Public Prosecutions
The words with which he on December 29, 1922, banned James Joyce's 'Ulysses' from Britain

"Censorship is the mother of metaphor."

Jorge Luis BORGES
Argentine poet (1899-1986)

"Nothing is added to the original text, but those words and expressions are omitted which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family."

English author and editor (1754-1825)
In 1818 he published an edition of Shakespeare's works in which he had removed all the phrases,
which he considered to be coarse or indecent. His crude form of censorship has given name to the practice of prudish expurgation – Bowdlerism

"…The Director General invites you to examine the planisphere hanging on the wall. The varied color scheme indicates:

  1. the countries where all books are systematically confiscated
  2. the countries where only books published or approved by the State may circulate
  3. the countries where existing censorship is crude, approximate, and unpredictable
  4. the countries where the censorship is subtle, informed, sensitive to implications and allusions, managed by meticulous and sly intellectuals
  5. the countries where there are two networks of dissemination: one legal and one clandestine
  6. the countries where there is no censorship because there are no books, but there are many potential readers
  7. the countries where there are no books and nobody complains about their absence
  8. the countries, finally, in which every day, books are produced for all tastes and all ideas, amid general indifference.

Nobody these days holds the written word in such high esteem as police states do… "


Italian novelist (1923–1985)

"Censorship feeds the dirty mind more than the four-letter word itself would."

American talk-show host, entertainer (1936-)

"The press is easier to strangle than to look in the eyes."

Winston Leonard Spencer CHURCHILL
English statesman and writer (1874-1965)

"I dislike censorship. Like the appendix it is useless when inert and dangerous when active."

Gerald Maurice EDELMAN
American biochemist and Nobel prize winner in medicine 1972 (1929-)

"As it is an ancient truth that freedom cannot be legislated into existence, so it is no less obvious that freedom cannot be censored into existence."

American general and 34th President of the United States (

"This is slavery, not to speak one's thought."

Greek tragic poet (480 or 485 B.C. – 406 B.C)

"Censorship is advertising paid by the government."

Federico FELLINI
Italian film director (1920-1993)

"Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever."

South African writer (1923-)

"A censor is a man who knows more than he thinks you ought to."

Granville HICKS
American writer (1901-1982)

"Did you ever hear anyone say "That work had better be banned because I might read it and it might be very dangerous to me?"

Joseph Henry JACKSON
American critic, travel-writer (1894-1955)

"I find the pain of a little censure, even when it is unfounded, is more acute than the pleasure of much praise."

3rd US President (1743-1826)

"Censorship in any form is the enemy of creativity, since it cuts off the life blood of creativity: ideas."


"Dat veniam corvis, vexat censura columbas. – Censure acquits the raven, but pursues the dove."

Decimus Junius Juvenalis or JUVENAL
Satires, II. 63
Roman rhetorician and satirical poet (1st to 2nd cent. A.D.)

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? – Who will watch the watchers?"

Decimus Junius Juvenalis or JUVENAL
Roman rhetorician and satirical poet (1st to 2nd cent. A.D.)

"Censorship is the strongest drive in human nature; sex is a weak second."


"Why did they devise censorship? To show a world which doesn't exist, an ideal world, or what they envisaged as the ideal world. And we wanted to depict the world as it was."

Polish filmmaker (1941-1996)

"They can't censor the gleam in my eye."

British actor (1899-1962)

"Censorship, like charity, should begin at home; but unlike charity, it should end there."

Clare Booth LUCE
American playwright and diplomat (1903-1987)

"If some books are deemed most baneful and their sale forbid, how then with deadlier facts, not dreams of doting men? Those whom books will hurt will not be proof against events. Events, not books should be forbid."

American author (1819-1891)

"It may be said that artist and censor differ in this wise: that the first is a decent mind in an indecent body and that the second is an indecent mind in a decent body."

George Jean NATHAN
The Autobiography of an Attitude
American editor and drama critic (1882-1958)

"As for the books you mention, here is my reply. If their content is in accordance with the book of Allah, we may do without them, for in that case the book of Allah more than suffices. If, on the other hand, they contain matter not in accordance with the book of Allah, there can be no need to preserve them. Proceed then, and destroy them."

Caliph, Letter dated 640 to the emir Amrou Ibn el-Ass about the Alexandria library scrolls

"Censorship of anything, at any time, in any place, on whatever pretense, has always been and always be the last resort of the boob and the bigot."

Eugene Gladstone O'NEILL
American playwright (1888-1953)

"Censorship is the commonest social blasphemy because it is mostly concealed, built into us by indolence, self-interest, and cowardice."

British playwright (1929-)

"Henceforth it will be the task of this Sacred Congregation not only to examine carefully the books denounced to it, to prohibit them if necessary, and to grant permission for reading forbidden books, but also to supervise, ex officio, books that are being published, and to pass sentence on such as deserve to be prohibited."

Decree to the Congregation of the Index of Prohibited Books, 29 June, 1908

The 32nd edition of the Index, published in 1948 included 4000 titles.
Index was suppressed in 1966
Pope (1835-1914)

"Fuck the censors. They're prepostreous; an imposition on society. Who the hell do they think they are telling me what I can read or see? Who are these people who are allowed to watch all this? What do you do with them at the end? Lock them up in an insane asylum? Put them in prison because they've become a danger to society or to themselves? Or should we give them compensation for exposing themselves to images, like we do to people who get exposed to radiation?"

Index on Censorship
Polish-American film director and screenwriter (1933-)

"The censure of those who are opposed to us, is the highest commendation that can be given us."

Charles de Marguetel de Saint-Denis de SAINT-ÉVREMOND
French critic, writer, and soldier (1616?-1703)

"The ultimate form of censorship is assassination."

George Bernard SHAW
Irish playwright and critic (1856-1950)

"Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads."

George Bernard SHAW
Irish playwright and critic (1856-1950)

"He who would acquire fame must not show himself afraid of censure. The dread of censure is the death of genius."

William Gillmore SIMMS
American novelist (1806-1870)

"Censorship is the unintended underlining through the intended crossing out (Zensur ist ungewollte Unterstreichung durch gewollte Streichung)."

Martin SPERR
German playwright

"Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself."

Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1915-1985)

"I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it."

American stage and movie comedienne (1893-1980)

"There were a lot of things the censors wouldn't let me do in the movies that I had done on stage. They wouldn't even let me sit on a guy's lap and I'd been on more laps than a napkin."

American stage and movie comedienne (1893-1980)

"Vietnam was the first war ever fought without any censorship. Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind."

General and U.S. military commander (1914-)