Do literary taboos change with time?

Jones, Emma (2013) Do literary taboos change with time? BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    The Oxford Dictionary defines taboo as something ‘prohibited or restricted by social custom’ (“Oxford Dictionaries”, 2013). This suggests that it, and in turn any, literary taboo is subjective. This subjectivity is related to society, with the proximities of what is or isn’t considered taboo defined solely by that which the time period in which it is written deems socially acceptable. However, is this always the case, or can taboo literature sometimes be considered so regardless of the social and historical context in which it is studied? In this essay, I aim to use Oscar Wilde’s 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' (1891), E. L. James’ 'Fifty Shades of Grey' (2011) and my own creative piece, to investigate the history of “taboo” literature to see if subject matter has changed over time and whether society and time period have any influence. I also intend to explore the history of public opinion with regards to taboo literature to see if it has grown more or less liberal over time, and finally to examine whether or not the time period in which we live moulds our reactions to taboo texts, ultimately aiming to answer the question of what it is that changes over time; the intrinsic nature of a taboo text, or what we ourselves consider to be a taboo text, and how we react to them.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2014 11:41
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:33

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