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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Postgraduate Course: Censorship (PG Version) (ENLI11195)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryJohn Milton's 'Areopagitica' (1644) describes two forms of censorship: pre-publication censorship, which Milton rejects as incompatible with English liberty; and destruction of the book after publication, which he holds compatible with English justice. This course studies the ways in which censorship, pre- and post-publication, has been enforced, resisted, and accepted from the seventeenth century to the present day. The operation of the censor is apparent in the prosecution of authors, publishers and booksellers for blasphemy, sedition, and obscenity; but censorship operates just as effectively through editorial intervention and the quiet rejection of offending texts by libraries and bookshops. We will learn about the economic, social, and legal pressures to which writers and publishers are subject, considering how the threat of censorship influences the formation, production, and reception of literature. We will read a range of texts that have provoked official and unofficial censorship, texts that articulate and challenge the position of the censor, and texts that imagine the destruction of books. Throughout the course, we will analyse censorship┐s construction of a vulnerable reader, who, like Don Quixote, the hero of the first novel, becomes that which he reads. NOTE: This course is taught jointly with Level 10 Undergraduate Honours students.
Course description WEEK 2 Introduction to censorship.
John Milton, Areopagitica (1644) (via Learn).
Extracts from Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (1605; 1612) (via Learn).

WEEK 3 Seditious and blasphemous libel.
Percy Bysse Shelley, Queen Mab (1813) (via Learn).
Extracts from Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man (1791-92; Oxford, 2008).

Students to select reading for Week 11.

WEEK 4 The Vulnerable Reader 1: Class, Race, and Violence.
William Harrison Ainsworth, Jack Sheppard (1839; Penguin, 2010) (via Learn)
Extracts from John Gay, The Beggar's Opera (1728; Norton 9th edn.).
Extract from Etheridge Knight, ed. Black Voices from Prison (1970) (via Learn)

WEEK 5 The Vulnerable Reader 2: Gender.
Mary Elizabeth Braddon, The Doctor's Wife (1864; Oxford, 2008).
Extract from Pamela K. Gilbert, Disease, Desire and the Body in Victorian Women┐s Popular Novels (1997) (via Learn)

WEEK 6 Censorship in the library.
George Moore, A Mummer's Wife and Literature at Nurse; (1885; Victorian Secrets, 2011).
Extract from Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality Vol 1. (1978) (via Learn)

WEEK 7 The Lord Chamberlain's office.
George Bernard Shaw, Mrs Warren's Profession (1893; Norton 9th edn); Harley Granville Barker, Waste (1926 revision; Granville Barker, Plays: One, Methuen, 1993).
Extract from Dominic Shellard and Steve Nicholson. The Lord Chamberlain Regrets┐ A History of British Theatre Censorship. (2004). 3-11. (via Learn)

WEEK 8 Pornography and Obscenity
D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928; 1960; Penguin, 2010).
Obscene Publications Act, 1959. (via Learn)
Extract from C.H. Rolph, ed., The Trial of Lady Chatterley: Regina v. Penguin Books Limited. (1961) (via Learn)

WEEK 9 Perfect censorship.
George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949; Penguin, 2008).
Nathaniel Hawthorne, 'Earth's Holocaust' (1844) (via Learn).
Pierre Bourdieu. ┐Censorship and the Imposition of Form.┐ In Language and Symbolic Power. (1991). 137-59. (via Learn)

WEEK 10 Chilling effect.
Ma Jian, Beijing Coma (Vintage, 2009).

WEEK 11 The Vulnerable Reader 3: Children and Young Adults.
One text, chosen by students in Week 2, from the American Library Association's list of the most frequently challenged and banned books in American public libraries. In 2011, the top ten banned books included: To Kill a Mockingbird, Brave New World, and The Hunger Games trilogy. Our focus shifts from the UK to the US not because censorship is necessarily more prevalent in US public libraries than in the UK, but because the ALA's reporting system quantifies censorship and makes it visible.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course, students will be able to:
-understand the legislative, economic and cultural contexts of censorship;
-discuss the relationship between literary production and censorship, primarily in relation to British fiction, poetry and prose;
-articulate how censorship operates prior to publication, during the publication process, and after publication;
-analyse the impact of censorship on historical and contemporary ideas of the reader.
Reading List
Bßez, Fernando, A Universal History of the Destruction of Books: From Ancient Sumer to Modern Iraq (New York: Atlas, 2008).

Bosmajian, Haig, Burning Books (McFarland, 2006).

Bourdieu, Pierre, 'Censorship and the Imposition of Form', in Language and Symbolic Power, ed. John B. Thompson (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1991), 137-59.

Brantlinger, Patrick, The Reading Lesson: The Threat of Mass Literacy in Nineteenth-Century British Fiction (Indiana UP, 1998).

Bristow, Edward, Vice and Vigilance: Purity Movements in Britain since 1700 (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1977).

Cummins, Anthony, '╔mile Zola┐s Cheap English Dress: The Vizetelly Translations, Late-Victorian Print Culture, and the Crisis of Literary Value', The Review of English Studies, 60 (2008), 108-32.

Donaldson, Ian, 'The Destruction of the Book', Book History 1 (1998), 1-10.

Drogin, Marc, Biblioclasm: The Mythical Origins, Magic Powers, and Perishability of the Written Word (Savage: Rowman & Littlefield, 1989).

Fishburn, Matthew, Burning Books (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).

Flint, Kate, The Woman Reader 1837-1914. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993).

Gilbert, Pamela K., Disease, Desire and the Body in Victorian Women's Popular Novels. (CUP, 1997).

Gillers, Stephen, 'A Tendency to Deprave and Corrupt: The Transformation of American Obscenity Law from Hicklin to Ulysses II', Washington University Law Review, 85:2 (2007), 216-95.

Griest, Guinevere L., Mudie's Circulating Library and the Victorian Novel (Bloomington: Indiana UP,1970).

Heath, Deana, 'Obscenity, Censorship and Modernity', in A Companion to the History of the Book, ed. Simon Eliot and Jonathan Rose, (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007), pp. 508-519.

Hunt, Alan, Governing Morals: A Social History of Moral Regulation (Cambridge: CUP, 1999).

Hunt, Lynn, The Invention of Pornography: Obscentity and the Origins of Modernity (New York: Zone, 1993).

Hunter, Ian, Daivd Saunders and Duglad Williamson, On Pornography: Literature, Sexuality and Obscenity Law (New York: St Martin's, 1993).

Hyland, Paul, and Neil Sammells (eds.), Writing and Censorship in Britain (London: Routledge, 1992).

Knuth, Rebecca, Libricide: The Regime-Sponsored Destruction of Books and Libraries in the 20th Century (Westport, CN: Praeger, 2003.)

-------------------, Burning Books and Leveling Libraries: Extremist Violence and Cultural Destruction (Westport, CN: Praeger, 2006).

Manchester, Colin, 'A History of the Crime of Obscene Libel', Journal of Legal History 12:1 (1991), 37-57.

Manvell, Roger. The Trial of Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh. (London: Elek, 1976).

Marsh, Joss, Word Crimes: Blasphemy, Culture and Literature in Nineteenth-Century England (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998).

Nash, David, ed. Blasphemy in Britain and America, 1800-1930. (Pickering & Chatto, 2010).

Pease, Allison, Modernism, Mass Culture, and the Aesthetics of Obscenity (CUP, 2000).

Post, Robert (ed.), Censorship and Silencing: Practices of Cultural Regulation (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities, 1998).

Saunders, David, 'Copyright, Obscenity and Literary History', ELH 57:2 (1990), 431-44.

Shellard, Dominic and Steve Nicholson, The Lord Chamberlain Regrets...: A History of British Theatre Censorship (London: British Library, 2004).

Sutherland, John, Victorian Novelists and Publishers (London: Athlone Press, 1976).

---------------------, Offensive Literature: Decensorship in Britain, 1960-1982 (London: Junction, 1982).

Thomas, Donald, A Long Time Burning: The History of Literary Censorship in Britain (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1969).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements PG Version of ENLI10357
Course organiserDr Katherine Inglis
Tel: (0131 6)50 3617
Course secretaryMiss Kara McCormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
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