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E23F HISTORY OF (LITERARY) CRITICISM
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Course Description: This course introduces students to the philosophical bases of literary 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 late nineteenth century. Our main goal in so doing is to better understand and thus improve what it is we do as literary critics but, as we shall see, much of what we will explore will be of great relevance to the criticism of many forms of art, filmic, musical, religious, etc. What is 'critical theory'? Please click here.
Theories of criticism are always informed by particular philosophical perspectives. For this reason, this course will also provide students with a skeletal overview of the historical development of Western philosophy and intellectual history over the corresponding time period. What is 'philosophy'? Please click here.
To these ends, the course is divided into three modules:
In each module, we will begin by exploring the dominant philosophical framework of the period in question before investigating its central critical concepts and main interpretative strategies. Where possible, such seminal statements will be compared with related Feminist, Post-colonial and / or African American essays on the same topic (where these exist) in order to probe the dominant ways in which patriarchal, colonial and post-colonial cultural phenomena and practices have come to be conceptualised. Last but not least, through close examination of practical illustrations of these theories (especially with reference to Post-colonial literatures), students will be encouraged to apply the paradigms discussed in their own critical writings.
E23F is the first in a chronological series of courses devoted to the study of critical theory here at Cave Hill. It is the prerequisite and indispensable foundation for E23G Twentieth Century Literary Theory, normally offered in semester II, in which you will study several of the most important modern schools of critical theory relevant to criticism here in the Caribbean. E23G is, in turn, the prerequisite for level III courses such as E33D Post-Structuralisms and Post-colonialisms devoted to contemporary critical theory and philosophy.
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