Literature 400

Introduction to Literary Theory

Full course for one semester. This course is a historical and analytical introduction to the major theoretical movements of the last 50 years in Western European and American literary criticism. The course will trace the philosophical origins and conceptual affiliations of the major theoretical developments, as well as the methodological paradigms of the critical movements that draw on them. As part of this overview we will unpack the central concepts or master tropes of the different theoretical movements in order to provide the student with a basic understanding of how to wield them effectively in literary critical discourse. Movements covered will include structuralism and semiotics, poststructuralism and deconstruction, Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, poststructuralist Marxist theory, Foucauldian theory and the New Historicism, and cultural studies. The course will be taught as a seminar, with each student responsible for organizing the discussion of a reading or topic. It is designed for literature majors, but non-literature majors with adequate preparation may be admitted at the discretion of the instructor. Students taking the course for French credit must do all the reading and written work in French. Prerequisite: junior standing and at least one literature course, or consent of the instructor; for students taking this course for French literature credit, one 300-level French course. Cross-listed as English 400 and French 400. Conference.

English 400 Description



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