Words create life and magic; they inspire and teach; they also challenge and threaten. People have been trying to ban books and to suppress words since books existed. Burning and bowdlerizing books have also been part of that offensive.
This class will discuss book banning, some of the books that have been banned in the past or are being banned now, and the reasons for their banning. Since the topic is so vast we will try to narrow it in various ways, often focusing on the idea of the power of words.
I hope everyone will look over lists of banned books and pick out some of the books that they have read. In each class we will discuss a few specific books and the history of their banning for the first part of the period and then class members will discuss and present their own reading for the second half of the period. Class members will be assigned some readings to supplement their independent reading. Our final weeks will focus on some of the works currently being banned.
If you are interested in this course, please start reading lists of banned books online as well as some of the many news articles currently being written about book banning. If you like having a book in hand, Banned Books: The World's Most Controversial Books, Past and Present by DK Secret Histories (Penguin) is a useful survey and provides some background.
I suggest everyone read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. It has been bowdlerized as well as banned over the years, so be sure to have the complete text.
Instructor Ann Nesslage is a graduate of Vassar, with a M.A. in British literature from Bryn Mawr. Ann retired from Choate Rosemary Hall, where she taught different levels of literature including British Studies and world literature. She also created electives in fantasy literature, satire, Early Irish and Welsh literature, and other topics. Ann lives in Bremen, where she enjoys reading and gardening and serves on the Bremen Conservation Commission and the library board. She is also a member of the CSC board and the Curriculum Committee.
Class Limit: 15