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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2008

E 314L • Banned Books and Novel Ideas

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34365 TTh
8:00 AM-9:30 AM
FAC 10

Course Description

Computer assisted instruction.

"Banned Books and Novel Ideas" will introduce students to the English major through readings and discussions that focus on censorship and freedom of speech. In this section, we will divide our study of banned books into two units: in the first, we will read works of twentieth century drama and prose that were banned at the time of their publication by federal anti-obscenity laws in the United States; in the second, we will read novels and a short story that were recently challenged or banned in Texas schools. Our discussion in both units will center on questions of how to define and balance competing claims about the value of a work of literature to its audience.

Though we will look particularly at the arguments surrounding the censorship of the texts we study, the purpose of this course is to prepare students to read and study literature at a college level. To that end, the written and supplementary reading assignments will focus on close reading, basic literary criticism, and students' understanding and analysis of connections between texts and their cultural contexts.

Grading Policy

Censorship and free speech journal 25%
Mid-term essay and revision 25%
Final essay 30%
Group presentation 10%
In-class participation and quizzes 10%


Unit I: Banned Books in an Age of Comstock
Kate O'Brien, Mary Lavelle
Eugene O'Neill, All God's Chillun Got Wings
James Joyce, "Penelope" chapter of Ulysses
Oscar Wilde, Salome

Unit II: ACLU Banned Books Report
Alice Walker, The Color Purple
John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany
Annie Proulx, "Brokeback Mountain"


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