Skip to main content


Poison, Filth, Trash: Modernism, Censorship and Resistance (EAS3252)

30 credits

Modernist authors and filmmakers pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable in terms of racial, sexual, gender, national and class politics as well as aesthetics. As a result, they had to confront the threat and reality of censorship. This module invites you to explore different forms of censorship, ranging from self-censorship and editorial interventions to postal seizures and government-imposed bans. You will learn about the reasons why certain texts were considered dangerous, obscene or immoral, engaging closely with ideologies of race, sexuality, gender, nation and class that underpin censorship. You will examine transnational networks of circulation and explore the different strategies authors and filmmakers developed to resist censorship. You will debate in what circumstances censorship can be productive or even necessary and explore the longer histories behind concepts like freedom of speech, age restrictions and content warnings that are still relevant today.

This module is suitable for all students. You will have the chance to read literary and filmic texts in tandem with other relevant historical sources and theoretical debates.