RICHARD L. W. CLARKE


 

 

 

LITS2307 (E23G) MODERN LITERARY THEORY

PAST EXAM PAPERS

2004-2005

Answer TWO (2) questions.

1.    Explain Marx’s ‘base / superstructure’ model of society, outlining its significance for criticism.

2.    Discuss Gramsci’s concept of ‘hegemony.’

3.    Discuss Lukács’ definition of ‘realism’ in “Art and Objective Truth.”

4.    In what sense, according to Benjamin, is the author a ‘producer’?

5.    Engels argues that the “determining factor in history is, in the final instance, the production and reproduction of immediate life.” In what sense is he arguably the first Marxist Feminist?

6.    Why does Fanon argue that “Marxist analysis should always be slightly stretched every time we have to do with the colonial problem”?


2003-2004

Course not offered.


2002- 2003

Answer TWO (2) questions in all, ONE (1) from Section A and ONE (1) from Section B.

Section A: Marxism:

1.    Lukács argues that the truly historical literary work "by its very nature offers a truer, more complete, more vivid and more dynamic reflection of reality than the receptant otherwise possesses." How exactly does the novel achieve this?

2.    Discuss the usefulness of Hartsock’s concept of a ‘feminist standpoint’ for a Marxist Feminist approach to criticism.

3.    How may any / all the categories for the study of African literature proposed by Amuta be applied to the study of West Indian literature?

Section B: (Existential) Phenomenology:

4.    Discuss Sartre’s view that to "write is . . . both to disclose the world and to offer it as a task to the generosity of the reader."

5.    Schweickart asks: "what difference does it make if the reader is a woman?" What answer does she propose?

6.    Discuss the implications for Post-colonial criticism of Fanon’s claim that man

is human only to the extent to which he tries to impose his existence on another man in order to be recognised by him. . . . It is on that other being, on recognition by that other being, that his own human worth and reality depend.


2001-2002

Answer TWO (2) questions in all, ONE (1) from Section A and ONE (1) from Section B.

Section A: Marxism:

1.    Relying on the perspective of either Caudwell or Lukács, discuss the main objectives of and characteristic steps taken by a Marxist critic in interpreting a literary work.

2.    Why does Jehlen argue that confronting the "assumptions that render women a fiction in themselves is a precondition" for writing about female experience?

3.    Discuss the six (6) categories for the study of African literature proposed by Chidi Amuta.

Section B: (Existentialist) Phenomenology:

4.    Discuss Fish’s concept of an ‘interpretive community’? How does this shape the interpretations of literary critics?

5.    Discuss the implications for feminist criticism of De Beauvoir’s assertion that "no group ever sets itself up as the One without at once setting up the Other over against itself."

6.    Discuss Fanon’s argument that in the quest for a

‘true national culture,’ native artists often seek to turn their back on foreign culture by delving into the past but forget that modern forms of thought have ‘dialectically reorganised the people’s intelligences.’


2000-2001

Answer TWO (2) questions in all, ONE (1) from Section A and ONE (1) from Section B.

Section A: Marxism:

1.    What criteria must a literary work meet, according to Lukács, if it is to be truly realist or historical?

2.    Discuss the main objectives of and characteristic steps taken by a Marxist Feminist critic in interpreting a literary work.

3.    What link does Ngugi perceive between European imperialism and the colonialist writer? How does he conceive, by contrast, the role of the Post-colonial writer?

Section B: (Existentialist) Phenomenology:

4.    Discuss Jauss’s conception of literary history. How is it different from other models thereof which you have encountered this semester?

5.    In what ways, according to Schweickart, is Poulet’s model of reading a useful one for Feminist critics who seek in women’s writing the "manifestation of the subjectivity of the absent author"?

6.    Explain Lamming’s comment that it is because of the "fundamental need to redefine himself for the comprehension of the Other" that the Negro writer’s work is necessarily a "form of self-enquiry, a clarification of relations with other men, and a report of his own very highly subjective conception of the possible meaning of man’s life"?


1999-2000

Course Not Offered.


1998-1999

Answer TWO (2) questions in all. You should NOT choose both questions from the same section.

Section A: Archetypal Criticism:

1.    In what ways are Frye’s views on literature similar to and different from Jung’s?

2.    "Fanon offers crucial insights into the ‘psychopathology’ of both white racism and its negro victim." Discuss some of the ways in which Post-colonial and other critics have applied these insights to the study of literature.

Section B: Marxist Criticism:

3.    Outline the main characteristics of a Marxist approach to literary criticism.

4.    "Where Marxist Feminist critics would agree with Engels that the oppression of women is ultimately reducible to economic causes, so-called Socialist Feminists would not." Write an essay outlining the main differences between a Marxist Feminist approach to literary criticism and a Socialist Feminist approach.

Section C: Existentialist Criticism:

5.    Argue for or against the following proposition: "De Beauvoir’s insight that woman has historically been constructed as ‘man’s Other’ is the starting point of Feminist criticism in the Twentieth Century."

6.    Discuss some of the ways in which Post-colonial theorists/critics such as Lamming or Brathwaite have made use of the Existentialist strands of Fanon’s thought.


1997 - 1998

Answer TWO of the following questions:

1.    Would you agree with the statement that "Fanon’s ‘misreading’ of the work of both Freud and Jung has had a tremendous impact upon the criticism of West Indian literature"?

2.    Compare and contrast the approach to literary criticism advocated by New Critics (such as Ransom or Brooks) with the approach favoured by Northrop Frye.

3.    Discuss some of the reasons why a Marxist approach to literary criticism has been particularly favoured by a wide range of Post-colonial critics.

4.    Outline some of the most important features of the Existentialist view of literature.

5.    "The answer(s) the critic gets is determined by the nature of the questions which (s)he puts to the literary work." Argue for or against this statement.


1996-1997

Answer TWO of the following questions:

1.    "Post-colonial theorists and critics 'misread' their European predecessors, taking from what they like and rejecting other aspects."  Discuss with reference to two such theorists, one Post-colonial and one European, whom you have studied.

2.    Discuss some of the most important arguments advanced by the Reader-Response school of criticism against what the New Critics call the 'Affective Fallacy.'

3.    The "establishment of alternative literary traditions to the male-dominated European canon remains an important cornerstone of Post-colonial and Feminist theories."  Discuss with reference to either the Post-colonial or the Feminist theorists whom you have studied in this regard.

4.    Compare and contrast a Freudian and a Jungian approach to literary criticism.

5.    Outline the most important features of a Marxist approach to literary criticism.

 

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