This seminar is an examination of literary works that were called or perceived dangerous. A literary history of what one can call “good literature” today reveals a history of censorship, prohibition, and book burning—be it for moral, political, or religious reasons. Starting with classical theorization of dangers of literature, and arts in general, by Plato and Aristotle, the course will explore a wide array of literary works (from drama to poetry, novel, short story, essay as well as visual arts and film) perceived as scandalous, threatening, obscene, anti-religion, immoral, treasonous; work of art that survived from generations to generations despite censorships. By studying this dangerous literature closely, students will acquire knowledge about the texts as well as the historical, aesthetic and philosophical contexts from which they emerged. This will additionally lead them to question the value of literature and its complex interrelationship with society, culture, and politics in our contemporary world.
Assignments, which will aim to help students develop their close reading and critical thinking skills, might include critical essays, weekly forum posts, quizzes and presentations.