Literature and the First Amendment
"Freedom of speech," writes Benjamin Cardozo in Palko v. Connecticut (1937), "is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom." We will go inside the matrix, focusing on how it has affected the books we read. This is not a course in constitutional law or political philosophy, but an opportunity to examine how American literary culture has intersected with law and politics. We will investigate the ways in which the meanings of "freedom," what it entails, and who is entitled to it have changed over time. Possible topics include the obscenity trials surrounding Allen Ginsberg's Howl and James Joyce's Ulysses, crackdowns on anti-war propagandists, and the legal battle between Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and televangelist and Moral Majority cofounder Jerry Falwell. Not offered 2022-23.
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