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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:

What leads to the banning of a book? Is it the content? The ideas contained in it? Or did the censors, perhaps, misread the book? A combination of these factors have led governments and religious institutions to ban books over the course of history. Often, they have found these books morally objectionable; in other instances, issues of pure expediency have led to censorship.

In this course, we will read a selection of censored books to gain insight into the controversies they started and into the political, social, and cultural climate that found them offensive. We will read each text while also trying to understand the justification offered by the censoring institution for banning a book.

"Banned Books and Novel Ideas" helps to prepare students to be English majors. The course teaches students how to engage deeply and critically with the texts they encounter. Students will further perfect their close reading skills while also learning how to consider issues involving literary form as well as historical and cultural contexts. The course also helps student continue to develop their proficiency in writing and speaking.

Grading Policy

6 literary analysis and reaction papers, one page single-spaced, all together worth 50%; 2 research papers, 5-7 pages, first one worth 20%, second one worth 30%


Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels; Voltaire, Candide; Johan Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther; D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover; Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita; Allen Ginsberg, Howl


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