Poll reveals changed attitudes to banned books
A poll conducted on Facebook shows that there has been a major shift in attitudes to what is acceptable in print.
Books that were considered controversial several decades ago hardly raise an eyebrow in the 21st century. A novel described in 1960 as 'the foulest in English literature' – 'Lady Chatterley's lover' – is now seen as 'progressive'.
The poll, devised by the National Library of Scotland, asked Facebook friends to vote on two opposing descriptions of six books.
More than 1,150 votes were cast, producing the following results:
- 'Lady Chatterley's lover' by D H Lawrence
- 'The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana' (English
- 'American Psycho' by Brett Easton Ellis
- 'Mein Kampf' by Adolf Hitler (1925):
- 'Lord of the flies' by William Golding
- 'The catcher in the rye' by J D Salinger
Each of these titles is on display in the 'Banned books' exhibition at NLS, which tells the story of censorship of the printed word.
Read more in our banned books poll press release.
29 September 2011
Book brings Scottish history to light through maps
Maps revealing Scotland's history and changing aspects of Scottish life have been brought together in a fascinating new book.
'Scotland: Mapping the nation' shows how maps can explain aspects of the story of Scotland as a nation, from the Roman era to the satellite age.
It is the first book to take Scotland's maps and mapping seriously as a form of history.
More than 220 maps, mostly from the National Library of Scotland's map collections, were chosen to illustrate, for example:
- Scotland occupied and defended
- Towns and urban life
- Popular culture
- Travel and communication
- How science has left its mark.
Among the historic and unusual maps included in the volume are:
- The extensive tram network in Glasgow in the last century (1908)
- A Soviet map of Greenock pinpointing factories and military targets (1979)
- Specially designed maps for blind people (1851 and 1978)
- Temperance maps showing the location of public houses (1884)
- The first road maps, from the 17th century.
Authors Chris Fleet, Margaret Wilkes and Charles W J Withers have aimed the book at anyone interested in Scottish history. Historian T C Smout describes it as 'a real eye-opener' and 'utterly absorbing':
'… when you have read it you will never think of maps, or perhaps of Scotland, in the same way again'.
'Scotland: Mapping the nation' will be published by Birlinn on 3 October, in association with the National Library of Scotland, priced £30.
22 September 2011
Display celebrates the history of Scottish working people
The efforts of working people in Scotland to improve their lot is part of the focus of a small display this autumn at the National Library of Scotland.
There is an unrivalled collection of material relating to Scottish working people at NLS. Among the collection are the oldest surviving records of trade unions and various organisations and activists involved in the working-class movement.
From these archives come letters, photographs, minute books and printed documents to help tell the story of working people's history.
The oldest item on show dates from 1761. This is the deed setting up what is regarded as the world's first co-operative society – the Fenwick Weavers' Society in Ayrshire.
From Friday 2 September to Monday 31 October, the Scottish working people's history display is open daily, with free admission.
Read more in our Treasures display press release.
2 September 2011