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US college offers module on Fifty Shades of Grey

8th January 2013

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E. L James said she would like to be remembered “as someone who could tell a rollicking good love story.” Well, that is exactly how the world will remember her after her trilogy of erotic novels (Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed) took to the bookshelves like a hurricane last year.

But for those of you who have managed to find time to read through the 514 pages of intimate sex scenes, how would you feel about the raunchy text appearing on your university reading list?

English professors would more than likely chuckle in disgust if you suggested carrying out a literary analysis of Fifty Shades of Grey.

This semester, however, a professor at the American University in Washington D.C is teaching a class centred on the trilogy.

“Contemporary American Culture: The 50 Shades Trilogy”, led by Stef Woods, has a full class of 23 students, and there is already a waiting list of other students ready and willing to discuss the intricacies of the relationship between Christian Grey and Anastacia Steele.

The course is set to cover a number of themes that appear in the book including sexuality and whether or not the relationship between Christian and Ana is healthy or abusive. Assessments will take the form of at least three term papers and students will also be expected to read a bunch of different texts alongside the Fifty Shades trilogy. What’s not to love?

The trilogy hit the jackpot when the set of three Fifty Shades of Grey texts occupied the top three places in the 100 bestsellers of 2012 list. Beating The Hunger Games trilogy and J.K Rowling’s new novel The Casual Vacancy, Fifty Shades sold 10,509,988 copies in the year to December.

Alongside this, the novel won the competition of Specsavers book of the year after taking over 75% of the public votes.

In response to her award, James said: “I am truly honored. I have to thank the readers and retailers for making Fifty Shades of Grey the success it has become.”


With such a big hype, there is no doubt that universities want to jump on the Fifty Shades band wagon - but would you want your Bronte and Austen novels exchanged for pages of 'literary' erotica?

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