Accueil > Censorship and storytelling in the 20th century: literature and film adaptation

BHUM 1555A - Censorship and Storytelling in the 20th Century: Literature and Film Adaptation

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 48

Language of tuition : English

Voir les plans de cours et bibliographies


No prerequisites.

Course Description

This trans-disciplinary course aims to provide details on past and current systems and cases of censorship, and to allow for in-depth study of certain landmark novels and film adaptations that have caused the greatest scandals and most intense censorship during the 20th century. The class will thus bring together notions of media studies, sociology, history, law and key legal battles, publication processes, as well as literary and film analysis. The course will mainly focus on banned and censored books and film adaptations in Great Britain and the U.S., but students will have the opportunity to bring in such cases in other countries during the weekly ‘round table debates' and in class discussions. The first few courses will focus on providing details on the history of censorship of books and films during the twentieth century, highlighting key cases and related protests or legal battles. Starting with the third class, each session will begin with a ‘round-table debate' involving 6 to 8 students on a key censorship theme. The main focus of the class will then be three ‘case studies' of novels and their film adaptations that had censors in an uproar. The theme of political censorship will focus on George Orwell's landmark dystopian novel, 1984, and two of its film adaptations (Michael Radford's 1984 in 1984 and Terry Gilliam's Brazil in 1985). The second unit will focus on the censorship of so-called ‘Immorality and Perversion' and deals with Vladimir Nabokov's novel Lolita and its two film adaptations (by Stanley Kubrick in 1961 and by Adrian Lyne in 1996). The final theme will be ‘Vice and Violence' and involves Anthony Burgess's 1962 novel A Clockwork Orange and its scandalous film adaptation, also by Stanley Kubrick, in 1971. Thus the three main themes that draw censorship—politics, sex and violence—will each be given adequate exploration. (See course syllabus for more details)


  • TREDY, Dennis (Maître de conférences des universités)
  • VAN DYK, Rebekah (Etudiante en Master)

Course validation

The grading for this class is based on Continuous Assessment: General In-class participation (10%) ; Participation in a Round-Table Debate (25%) ; One Written Essay as a Homework (choice of two possible assignments) (30%) ; Comprehensive Final Exam (35%).

Required reading

  • Novels/Novellas (in the order that they should be read):
  • Orwell, George. 1984. 1949. London: Penguin Modern Classics, 2013 (or other edition)
  • Nabokov, Vladimir. Lolita. 1955. London: Penguin Books, 2011 (or other edition).
  • Burgess, Anthony. A Clockwork Orange. 1962. London: Penguin Books, 2011 (or other edition).
  • Five film adaptations to watch/study (after reading the source novel): 1984 (1984, Michael Radford), Brazil (1985, Terry Gilliam), Lolita (1961, Stanley Kubrick), Lolita (1996, Adrian Lyne), A Clockwork Orange (1971, Stanley Kubrick).

Additional required reading

See course syllabus.

Plans de cours et bibliographies