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.
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.