Censoring allegorical texts: interpreting Orwell and Miller

RENDI, Melissa Jayne (2016). Censoring allegorical texts: interpreting Orwell and Miller. Masters, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the relationship between censorship and allegory through an analysis of allegorical interpretations of censored texts. The allegorical texts Animal Farm by George Orwell and The Crucible by Arthur Miller are analysed with a view to understanding whether censors of allegory are correct to assume that their own interpretations are replicable for other readers, and censor accordingly. Beginning with an exploration of the varieties of literary censorship affecting both primary texts, the thesis then moves on to a discussion of current literature concerning the fields of both allegory and censorship. With a methodological focus on reader-response criticism and the power and influence of a reader’s own context over the allegorical text itself, the thesis hopes to fill the gap in current scholarship which approaches the issues of allegory and censorship from a perspective focused on cognitive linguistics. Each text’s respective sections devote attention both to the censorship of the texts and their authors, and to critical responses and reviews which act as examples of literary interpretations. Close readings (selected on the basis of recurrence in discussions of the texts) are used to understand the elements of pre-existing knowledge required of readers to construct their allegorical interpretation. Finally, the allegorical parallels noted in the analysed interpretations are compared to those offered by the texts’ censors, and with context and relevant theory in mind, the replicability of censors’ interpretations is considered. The conclusions reached in the thesis support the suggestion that censors’ allegorical interpretations are replicable. However, the likelihood of readers producing such interpretations is largely influenced by their understanding of the allegorised scenario, and how closely this understanding matches that of the censors. In addition, the possibility for dominant readings of censored and controversial allegorical texts to alleviate interpretive pressures typically placed upon readers of allegorical literature may indicate that such

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Helen Garner
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2017 15:42
Last Modified: 13 Feb 2017 16:37
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15209

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