Looking for an interesting class for the spring semester? Consider LITE 285: Studies in the Novel – Banned Books. The class will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays.
The books to be covered are “As I Lay Dying” by William Faulkner, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston, “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov, “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess and “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood.
English professor Matt Samra, who’s teaching the class, said students typically finish the class with stronger critical reading skills.
“We have great conversations about unique works of literature, and students are exposed to some incredibly rich works of fiction,” Samra said. “In addition, my students get to see what topics have historically caused readers to get ‘bent out of shape’ and seek to censor or ban certain works of literature. When art is powerful or scary or challenging, there’s always someone who wants to shut it down. Even if, in many cases, they haven’t even seen or read the work in question.”
Although the books covered in the class have been challenged or questioned, most banned books are widely circulated in libraries and bookstores.
Beth Williamson, a clerk at Willard Library in downtown Battle Creek, said banned books are “wildly popular” in the library.
“They get a lot of attention for being banned. Everyone wants to know what the buzz is about,” Williamson said. “Those books fly off the shelves.”
LITE 285 is a discussion-based class that resembles a book club, and it’s worth three credits. Registration for the class is open now.