Department of English

University of Toronto

3000-Level Course Descriptions

Literature and Censorship, 1660-1830
T. Keymer

Censorship is not only an instrument of control or suppression but also, Annabel Patterson has argued, a discipline to which we partly owe our concept of literature as a discourse with characteristics of its own. While regulating what could be said, and how, censorship could also stimulate ingenious strategies of circumvention, from clandestine presses and decoy imprints to elaborate literary techniques of ellipsis and innuendo. In important respects, the institutions and mechanisms of press regulation in England, from pre-publication licensing to the spectacle of the pillory, may have energized the production of literature as much as they also constrained it. The rich scholarship on early modern censorship has not been matched for the eighteenth century, and scholars still sometimes deploy a Whiggish narrative of emergent toleration and liberty of the press following the 1695 lapse of the Licensing Act. Yet the collapse of Restoration licensing was not the end of state control, and the historical record rules out any simple narrative of progressive liberalization.
This course explores the persistence of censorship and its implications for literature of the ‘long’ eighteenth century with reference to works by Dryden, Defoe, Fielding, Cleland, Johnson, Godwin, Southey.

Reading List
John Milton, Areopagitica; Poems about Cromwell by Marvell, Dryden, Waller, Sprat; John Dryden, Mac Flecknoe, The Hind and the Panther, The Satires of Juvenal; Daniel Defoe, The Shortest Way with the Dissenters and related works; Henry Fielding, The Historical Register and related works; Samuel Johnson, London, Marmor Norfolciense, A Compleat Vindication of the Licensers of the Stage; John Cleland, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure; William Godwin, Caleb Williams and related works; Daniel Isaac Eaton, Hog’s Wash and related works; Robert Southey, Wat Tyler

Course Requirements
Seminar with oral presentations (20%) and informed participation in class discussion (20%); essay proposal with bibliography (10%); 20-page research paper (50%).

Term: S-Term (January - April 2015)
Date/Time: Tuesday, 1:00pm - 3:00pm, 2 hours
Location: Room JHB718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)

Top of Page
Return to 2014-2015 Graduate Course Timetable

Return to Graduate Courses main page.

Site Information:

Site Tools:

Click below for directions to the University of Toronto!

University of Toronto, St. George Campus
Map of St. George Campus
Map of Mississauga Campus
Map of Scarborough Campus