Censorship in Canadian Literature by Mark Cohen

By Mark Cohen

Cohen evaluations Timothy Findley's huge anti-censorship place; he strains Margaret Atwood's evolution from implicit help for the censorship of pornography in physically damage to the rejection of censorship within the Handmaid's story; and he presents the 1st precise examine of the draft of Margaret Laurence's unfinished novel, displaying the measure to which her ultimate silence used to be due to the her censorship ordeal. eventually, an research of the writing of Beatrice Culleton and Marlene Nourbese Philip exhibits how other forms of socio-cultural censorship - from gate-keepers to self-censorship - silence local and black Canadian voices. Cohen's re-definition of censorship as basically a convention of judgment takes us past the conventional Enlightenment delineation of censorship as an oppressive executive perform and the ensuing neutralist liberal condemnation of censorship on precept. on account that judgment is enmeshed within the textile of human endeavour, censorship is inevitable; due to the fact that censorship is inevitable, Cohen concludes, debate over no matter if censorship itself is fascinating should still fall down to a look for censorship practices which are extra simply. Censorship in Canadian Literature is an important textual content for students of Canadian literature in addition to for a person fascinated about modern debates approximately censorship and civil rights.

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14) It may sound as if Findley is invoking a definition of self-censorship very similar to mine, which I use to discredit the principled stand against censorship, Findley's own position. This impression is furthered by what follows: "Censorship by Every Other Name". And, in this case, the name can be anything from "fear-ship" to "self-esteem-ship"; from "Obsequiousness-ship" to "shyness-ship" to "lack-of-integrity-ship" and "Isn't-he-thoughtful-hedoesn't-want-to-offend-us-s/zzp"! Censorship now goes under so many names: "concern" - "anti-pornography" ...

Censorship is merely judgment, and we cannot fault people for undertaking that process. We can, however, fault them when we perceive their judgments to be unjust. I acknowledge that concepts of justice change over time and vary among different communities, but I believe it would be more fruitful to struggle over conflicting concepts of justice than over the benefits or harms of the "principle" of censorship. Findley has shown some reticence in accepting as censorship some of the events I have described: he rejected my suggestion that his expurgation of the profanity in The Wars was self-censorship and did not at first appear to see that censorship was a factor in the alteration of the film (though in his letter to me he acknowledges it).

In addition to pre-publication censorship - that is, exclusion of material from the novel and film before they reached the public - the novel was the subject of post-publication attacks as well. 9 In 1991 a student at a high school in Sarnia, Ontario, asked that the book be removed from the school curriculum. According to the Globe and Mail, the student said she "finds the depiction of the rape offensive and that studying the book pressures students to accept homosexuality" ("Student," C$). The high school's English department defended the book, as did the school board, and the student transferred to a class in which the novel was not being taught.

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