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Prof Pens 15th Book on Censorship

By Ben Jipson
UW-RF University Communications

OCT. 9, 2006--An author of 15 books on literary censorship, UW-River Falls English Professor Nicholas Karolides wasn't always interested in that topic. In fact, he prides himself more in the art of teaching literature and his personal style of teaching. But that fact didn't get in the way when Karolides discovered his interest in censorship when he was given the opportunity to edit a book about the issue. Nearly a decade later, that interest has lead to his research and publications om censorship and being noted internationally as an expert in the field.  

In August, Karolides' book "Banned Books: Literature Suppressed on Political Grounds, Revised Edition" was released. Of the 15 books Karolides has authored or edited, this marks the seventh book he has written about censorship, and it is an updated version of the original book released in 1998.

"I think that keeping books from people is a major anti-democratic crime," said Karolides. But simply opposing or challenging books isn't the worst part of censorship, he admits. Teachers don't teach certain books in their classrooms and librarians don't buy other books fearing they may lose their jobs. "It becomes a major social problem as well as a major education problem," he said.

The newer version contains sections about 10 literary works not discussed in the original edition. Some of these works include:   "After Such Knowledge, What Forgiveness?," "Did Six Million Really Die?," "The Fugitive," "Waiting," "The Politics of Dispossession," "The Man Died" and "The Patriot." The recent edition has a much more international feel, including sections about works written by Chilean, Chinese and Nigerian authors along with updates and improvements to previously written sections.

Trying to write a book in addition to teaching several college courses can prove to be challenging, says Karolides. There are many factors that contribute to completing a task of this magnitude, but after 15 successful tries, Karolides has demonstrated that his time management skills are in fine working order. "It's a matter of organization, time, and hoping that you can keep up with the reading and papers," said Karolides.

The age-old topic of censorship continues to intrigue the literary world just as much now as it ever has, and censorship remains a worthwhile pursuit for Karolides as well. At the root of his wonderment is the motivation behind challenging and banning books. "It's interesting how people malign books for the wrong reasons," he said.               

Currently, Karolides is researching an article that will identify and discuss the significant court cases that have established the safeguards to the freedom of expression. He is also planning a book on the application of role-playing principles and methodology to the literature classroom.               

Karolides has proven that he can balance a career as an author/editor and well as a university professor, having has earned several awards and honors. Among them are the UWRF Distinguished Teacher Award, the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher in the Humanities Award and the University of Wisconsin System Regents Teaching Excellence Award. He has also earned three intellectual freedom awards from the Wisconsin International Reading Association, the Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English and the National Council of Teachers of English.               

Karolides completed his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees at New York University--the last of which came in 1963. In addition to being a full-time professor in the UWRF English department, he is also a member of the National Council of Teachers of English, the Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English and the Modern Language Association.


Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:07:38 Central Daylight Time


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