International Banned Book: Bambi by Felix Salten

Bambi, a Life in the Woods, originally published in Austria as Bambi: Eine Lebensgeschichte aus dem Walde is a 1923 Austrian novel written by Felix Salten and published by Ullstein Verlag. The novel traces the life of Bambi, a male roe deer, from his birth through childhood, the loss of his mother, the finding of a mate, the lessons he learns from his father and experience about the dangers posed by human hunters in the forest. An English translation by Whittaker Chambers was published in North America by Simon & Schuster in 1928, and the novel has since been translated and published in over 30 languages around the world. Salten published a sequel, Bambis Kinder, eine Familie im Walde (Bambi’s Children), in 1939.

Bambi was “hugely popular” after its publication, becoming a “book-of-the-month” selection and selling 650,000 copies in the United States by 1942. However, it was subsequently banned in Nazi Germany in 1936 as “political allegory on the treatment of Jews in Europe.” Many copies of the novel were burned, making original first editions rare and difficult to find.

With World War II looming, Max Schuster aided the Jewish Salten’s flight from Nazi Germany and helped introduce him, and Bambi, to Walt Disney Productions.[4] Sidney Franklin, a producer and director at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, purchased the film rights in 1933, initially desiring to make a live-action adaptation of the work.[5] Deciding such a film would be too difficult to make, he sold the rights to Walt Disney in April 1937 in hopes of it being adapted into an animated film instead. Disney began working on the film immediately, intending it to be the company’s second feature-length animated film and his first to be based on a specific, recent work.

Excerpted from Wikipedia

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