Please click on the links below for the relevant information:

Academic Year 2002-2003: Semester I


For '.pdf' files (marked *), Adobe Acrobat is required.

Some Primary and Secondary Sources

Cultural Theories to 1900:

Critical Theories to 1900: Special Topics in Cultural Theory:

Special Topics in Critical Theory:

Annual Class Pictures

Click on the thumbnails below to enlarge:

PB280021.JPG (431736 bytes) 2002-2003

I am available for pre-exam consultation during my regular office hours.

Click on the links to the left for the topics covered in Modules 2 and 3

Lecturer:  Dr. Richard Clarke; E-mail:
Ms. Sherry Asgill; E-mail:
Prerequisite: None.  (A pass in E10E Writing About Literature is welcome but not mandatory.)
Class Times: 

  • Lec. 1: Tu 2-3 pm (ALT)
  • Lec. 2: Thur 2-3 pm (LR5)
  • Tut. 1: Mon 11-noon (X7) (Asgill)
  • Tut. 2: Tu 4-5 pm (ISR) (Clarke)
  • Tut. 3: Tu 4-5 pm (S7) (Asgill)

(If you regularly miss lectures and / or tutorials, please click here.)

Description: This course seeks to introduce students to the basic principles of textual interpretation / criticism by surveying the historical development of the field of critical theory from some of its earliest formulations in Ancient Greece and Rome to the early twentieth century.  (What is 'critical theory'?  Please click here.)  In so doing, this course will also provide students with a skeletal overview of the development of Western philosophy and intellectual history.  (What is 'philosophy'?  Please click here.  What is 'intellectual history'?  Please click here.)  Our main goal in so doing is to better understand and thus improve what it is we do mainly as interpreters / critics of literature.  However, as we shall see, much of what we will explore will be of great relevance to the interpretation / criticism of many kinds of text, filmic, religious, historical, etc.

To these ends, the course is divided into three modules:

  • Module I: the Pre-Modern Period:
    • Classical Greece and Rome (400 BCE - 100 CE)
    • Middle Ages (c. 1100 - c. 1400)
    • Renaissance (c.1400 - c. 1660)
  • Module II: the Early Modern Period:
    • Neo-Classicism (c. 1660 - 1785)
    • Romanticism (c. 1785 - 1830)
    • Nineteenth Century (c. 1830 - c. 1890)
  • Module III: the Modern Period:
    • Anglo-American Modernism, New Criticism, and Neo-Aristotelianism (to c. 1960)
    • Anglo-American Feminist theory (mainly of the 1960s and 1970s)
    • Post-colonial theory (mainly Caribbean and African statements of the 1960s and 1970s)

We will examine seminal statements, if any, made by key theorists in each period on the following topics:

  • Cultural Identity: what is human nature and how is it shaped by one's society and culture? 
  • Signification: how do words mean or signify?
  • Representation: the mimetic view of literature, i.e. what does a work imitate or represent?  Sub-topics include:
    • realism
    • symbolism
  • The Reader: the pragmatic view of literature, i.e what impact does a work have upon its reader?  Sub-topics include:
    • the formative effect (for both good and bad) which literature has on the reader
  • Authorship: the expressive view of literature, i.e. who or what is the source of a work?  Sub-topics include:
    • ‘genial criticism’: assessing a work as the expression of an author’s genius
    • ‘biographical criticism’: scrutinising a work for what it reveals about the author's personality and nationality
    • ‘contextual criticism’: scrutinising an author’s biography for the light it sheds on the work
    • ‘hermeneutics’: the quest for the author’s intention in order to determine the meaning of a work
  • Literary Form: the objective view of literature, i.e. what form or structure does a work take?  Sub-topics include:
    • Neo-Classical prescriptions
    • Romantic prescriptions
    • ‘New Criticism’--the study of the ‘form’ of lyric poetry
    • Neo-Aristotelian Narratology--the study of dramatic and narrative ‘structure’
  • Literary History / Tradition: what is the relationship which links one work to other works?  Sub-topics include:
    • representationalist models
    • pragmatic models
    • author-oriented models
    • formalist models.

E23F is the first in a chronological series of three courses devoted to the study of critical theory here at Cave Hill.  It is the prerequisite and an indispensable foundation for E23G Twentieth Century Literary Theory offered in semester II.  In E23G, you will study several of the most important modern schools of critical theory relevant to criticism here in the Caribbean, including: Marxism, Freudian Psychoanalysis, Jungian Archetypal Theory, Phenomenology / Existentialism / Reader-Response and Reception Theory, Feminism, and Anti-colonial Theory.  E23G is, in turn, the prerequisite for E33D Post-Structuralisms and Post-colonialisms which may be studied at level III.

You are visitor no. Hit Counter since April 24, 2002
This site last updated:
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
This site received more than 1500 hits between its inception on September 01, 2001 and April 23, 2002
Copyright © 2000-Present: Richard L. W. Clarke: ALL RIGHTS RESERVED