E 314L • Banned Books and Novel Ideas
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
This course introduces undergraduates to the English major using censorship and freedom of speech as its organizing themes. We will read works that have been banned at one time or another and works that discuss the ramifications of censorship. As we explore the controversies around these works, we will learn more about how societies assess the merit of a literary work, and how authors and readers engage in complex negotiations over religious, sexual, and political mores. Throughout the course, we will foreground an important question: how does a democratic society balance the deeply-held values of its individual members with the ideal of free expression of ideas?
"Banned Books and Novel Ideas" is intended to prepare students for college-level literary studies. By the end of the course, students will have learned to close read texts to better appreciate the power and flexibility of the English language; to use various modes of literary criticism to interpret poems, plays, and novels; and to write critically about literature and culture.
Short responses to course readings 10%
3 formal essays, 1000-2000 words each 80%
Annotated bibliography 10%
Regular attendance is expected, and excessive absences will affect the final course grade.
John Milton, Areopagitica, Paradise Lost, Book 9
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterly's Lover
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye
A course packet will include critical essays pertaining to the primary works.