RICHARD L. W. CLARKE


 

 

 

LITS2307 MODERN CRITICAL THEORY
(FORMERLY E23G TWENTIETH CENTURY LITERARY THEORY)
 

COURSE ARCHIVE

2004-2005

2003-2004

2002-2003

2001-2002

2000-2001

1999-2000

1998-1999

1997-1998

1996-1997

Past Exam Papers

Annual Class Photos

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THUMBNAIL DESCRIPTION

This course introduces students to several schools of Continental philosophy and critical theory (chosen from Psychoanalysis, Marxism and Phenomenology) as well as Feminist, Post-colonial and African American thinkers who have engaged with these schools.

DETAILLED DESCRIPTION

In any semester, we study two of the following schools of Continental philosophy:

Psychoanalysis (including Freudian Psychoanalysis, Object-Relations Psychoanalysis, and Jungian Analytical Psychology),

Marxism, and

Phenomenology (under this rubric, I also include Existentialism and Hermeneutics).

In the case of each school, we begin by exploring general philosophical issues concerning the nature of cultural identity, language and knowledge advanced by the school in question before investigating its main critical tenets and interpretative strategies.  We will explore in particular what, if anything, its major theorists have to say about the following issues:

representation: the nature of the relationship between the (literary) work and the world;

authorship: the nature of the relationship between the author and his / her (literary) work;

the audience: the nature of the relationship between the audience and the (literary) work;

(literary) form: the nature of the formal structure and genre of (literary) works; and

(literary) history: the chronological relationship linking (literary) works.

We will also compare key European and American essays with seminal Feminist and Post-colonial interventions on the same topics.  For example, we may compare Jung’s "On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Literature" with Annis Pratt’s "Archetypal Patterns in Women’s Fiction" and with Wilson Harris’s "History, Fable and Myth in the Caribbean and Guianas," or Sartre’s Existentialism and Humanism with appropriate excerpts from De Beauvoir’s The Other Sex and Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth.  Moreover, 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.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of the semester, students should have:

become acquainted with the views of key thinkers in the Continental tradition (e.g. Hegel, Heidegger) as well as those of Feminist, Post-colonial and African American theorists who have engaged with these schools;

acquired a more nuanced and complex view of key concepts, debates and issues in the field, including:

Topics in Literary Theory:

Representation,

Audience,

Literary Form (structure, genre, etc.),

Authorship,

Literary History, Intertextuality, Canonicity,

Literature,

Wider Philosophical Topics:

the nature of reality,

the nature of human identity,

the nature of knowledge,

the nature of language,

the question of right and wrong, how we ought to live together, and the nature of human society and polity;

acquired the ability to apply the insights of literary theory to the study of works.

PREREQUISITES

A pass in LITS2306 History of Criticism Because LITS2306 History of Criticism provides an indispensable foundation for this course, it is in students’ interest to register for this course only when this prerequisite has been met.

Passes in any Level 1 / II Philosophy courses, especially Nineteenth Century Philosophy, are welcome.

LITS2307 Modern Critical Theory provides a highly recommended foundation for LITS3304 Post-Structuralisms and Post-colonialisms

ASSESSMENT

Seminar participation and / or presentation(s) and / or response(s): 10%

Term paper: 30%

Final examination: 60% (2 questions in 2 hours)

Please note that, whatever the final mark, students must pass at least one question in the final exam to pass any course in Literatures in English.  Failures of this sort are denoted by FE ('Failed Exam') on the grade slip.

This site was last updated: February 03, 2011

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