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ENGL 279/3.0 Literature and Censorship

Course applicable to the following Majors / Medials/ Minors:    ENGL (core) / MDVL (supporting) / Con-Ed Teaching Subject (English)
Course Instructor: Dr Peter Lowe - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This course is available in:   Winter term at the BISC
Course Prerequisites / Exclusions:   PREREQUISITE: ENGL 100/6.0

This course will explore the impact of literature at the point of its creation, and in the aftermath of its first publication.  We will discuss what forms censorship can take, and how writers comply with or circumvent its dictates.

 DR PETER LOWE, BISC 

Course Highlights:

Explore the complex and often dangerous relationship between the writer and the state in which their work is produced and published.

Look at the motives that a regime may have for suppressing or closely revising a writer’s work, and the means by which writers engage with the authorities supervising and assessing their output.

Study actual examples of works that have faced censorship by examining a range of case studies in Russian literature.

2020 5

ENGL 279/3.0 Literature and Censorship

Case studies for this course are all connected through their relationship to Russia: a state that the past 150 years has moved from imperial autocracy to Communist dictatorship, and from fragile democracy to a new period of authoritarian rule. At every turn, writers based in the country, or working outside of its borders, have had to challenge where possible and conform where necessary to instructions from governmental channels, often at risk to their literary reputation or to their life. By juxtaposing some of these examples with the reception their texts have found in the Western world we will consider how Literature can function as a tool in sustaining inter-cultural rivalry, and how censorship, even as it represses its objects, can also turn the literary work into a powerful example of personal and textual integrity.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course successful students will be able to:

  • Identify and distinguish between key terms in the study of the relationship between censorship and literary texts via an interpretative textual analysis essay assignment.
  • Reflect on the impact of state-sponsored and ‘unofficial’ censorship on literary values and debates.
  • Analyse and discuss a range of primary, secondary and media sources, both in class and in their own independent research.
  • Understand and contribute to ongoing debates about the nature and application of censorship, assessed via a reflective Experiential Learning essay assignment.
  • Share and discuss original research using multi-media methods in an assessed end-of-course presentation.

Experiential Learning Opportunities

Students will be able to attend relevant readings and discussions at Pushkin House (the Russian Cultural Centre in London) or the School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies at University of London.

Bader International Study Centre
Herstmonceux Castle
Hailsham, East Sussex
United Kingdom, BN27 1RN
Phone: +44 1323 834444
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Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
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