Censorship in Twentieth-Century Literature Criticism: Political Censorship And The State - Essay

Nadine Gordimer (essay date fall 1973)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Gordimer, Nadine. “98 Kinds of Censorship.” The American PEN: An International Quarterly of Writing 5, no. 4 (fall 1973): 16-21.

[In the following polemical essay, Gordimer argues that South African censorship laws conspire with the apartheid government to both limit and silence writers' life experiences.]

South Africa has a Censorship Act that lists no less than 97 definitions of what it considers undesirable in literature. Two of my own novels have been banned under this Act. It contains no clause providing that the author of a banned book shall be told which of the 97 offenses his work has committed, so I cannot tell you why my books, or those of any...

(The entire section is 2167 words.)

Herbert P. Rothfeder (essay date February 1981)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Rothfeder, Herbert P. “Amt Schrifttumspflege: A Study in Literary Control.” German Studies Review 4, no. 1 (February 1981): 63-78.

[In the following essay, Rothfeder discusses how the totalitarian government of Nazi Germany deployed bureaucracy on national and local levels to effectively censor literature it considered problematic.]

Modern totalitarian dictatorships have developed the practice of censorship into a highly refined art. Through an interlocking network of party and state agencies, the opponents of the regime are denied a forum for expressing their views, while at the same time, ideology consistent with the government in power is...

(The entire section is 6024 words.)

Roger Allen (essay date March-June 1995)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Allen, Roger. “Arabic Fiction and the Quest for Freedom.” Journal of Arabic Literature 26, no. 1-2 (March-June 1995): 37-49.

[In the following essay, Allen compares the religious and political censorship of Arabic literature to the censorship of Western literature, discussing the treatment of writers in Arabic-speaking countries and how writers of Arabic literature confront and resist censorship in their work.]

I laugh in the dark,
I cry in the dark;
in the dark I also write
till I no longer distinguish pen from finger.
Every knock at the door, every rustle of the curtain,
I cover my papers with my hand
like a cheap tart in a police raid.
From whom have I...

(The entire section is 5945 words.)

Geoffrey F. Peterson (essay date 2000)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Peterson, Geoffrey F. “The Soviet Censorship and Samizdat.” In The Images of the Twentieth Century in Literature, Media, and Society, edited by Steven Kaplan, pp. 79-84. Pueblo, Colo.: University of Colorado, 2000.

[In the following essay, Peterson explains how samizdat, or underground émigré publishing, functioned as a response to Soviet censorship in the twentieth century.]

On September 8, 1965, Andrei Sinyavsky was on his way to read a lecture at Moscow State University when he was arrested in the streets. As Sinyavsky recalled a few years ago, “A first arrest is almost like first love. You remember everything down to the smallest details. The last...

(The entire section is 3610 words.)