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

Fall 2009

E 314L • Banned Books and Novel Ideas

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

Please refer to the course schedule for course days, time, room location, prerequisites and possible cross-listings:

Legal and Educational Contexts-- This course will introduce students to the English major through readings and discussions that focus on debates over the censorship of literary texts. In this section of E314L, we will divide our study of banned books into two units. In the first, we will read works of drama, poetry and prose that were banned by federal anti-obscenity laws in the United States in the 1880s-1930s. In the second, we will read novels 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 introduce students to the study of literature at a college level. To that end, our readings and written assignments will focus on three goals central to preparing for the English major:

* Students will learn about and practice close reading of literary texts.

* Students will develop a broad-based vocabulary of useful literary and critical terms and will learn how to use apply those terms to arguments about literature.

* Students will practice researching literary history and criticism of texts, and learn to incorporate their research into written analyses of literature.

Grading Policy

Mid-term Essay and Revision: 25%; Reading Responses Close Reading Assignments: 25%; Final Essay: 30%; Group Presentation: 10%; Quizzes: 10%


Proposed Reading List: Banned Books and the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice; Lysistrata, by Aristophanes; Salome,, by Oscar Wilde; Well of Loneliness, by Radclyffe Hall; Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman; 2008 ACLU Banned Books Report; I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou; Bless Me, Ultima, Rudolfo Anaya; The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood


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