Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Censorship in Literature

Every year during Banned Books Week, libraries, publishers, and booksellers highlight the very real threat to our freedom to read. The Newport Public Library will recognize Banned Books Week this year with a program on censorship, a book club discussion and film screening of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and a display featuring banned and challenged books.

Photo by Kim Nguyen
Dr. Pancho Savery begins the week with “To Cut or Not to Cut: Censorship in Literature” on Sunday, September 22, at 2:00 p.m. Recent efforts to remove the “N” word in literature—from the new edition of Mark Twain’s Huck Finn in which the word is changed to “slave” to the attempt to halt a high school production of August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone because of its "offensive" language—raise questions about censorship. Is censorship ever a good thing? Should accommodations be made considering the difference between a character’s and author’s point of view?

Savery is professor of English, humanities, and American studies at Reed College. He also teaches in Reed’s freshman humanities program on the Ancient Mediterranean World (focusing on Greece, Egypt, Persia, and Rome). For the last eleven years, he has worked with Oregon Humanities on the Humanity in Perspective program.

The library’s Reading Circle will meet on Tuesday, September 24 at noon to discuss Mark Twain’s controversial classic. That evening, at 6:30 p.m., the monthly Literary Flick will feature the 1939 version of the film, starring Mickey Rooney as Huck Finn.

Savery’s Conversation Project is sponsored by Oregon Humanities. Through the Conversation Project, Oregon Humanities offers free programs that engage community members in thoughtful, challenging conversations about ideas critical to our daily lives and our state's future.

The library will have buttons and bookmarks to give away during Banned Books Week, while supplies last.  Ask for your "I read banned books" button and wear it proudly!

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