RICHARD L. W. CLARKE


 

 

 

LITS3303 (E33C) MODERN CRITICAL THEORY

PAST EXAM PAPERS

See also the past papers for LITS2307

2015-2016

Answer TWO questions in all, ONE from Section A and ONE from Section B.

In each answer, you should refer closely to at least TWO relevant primary source(s).

Section A: PSYCHOANALYSIS

1. Would you agree that Psychoanalysis is a “theory written by, about and for males”? (30 marks)

2. Argue for or against the view that “all Psychoanalytic criticism studies the connections that exist between the life of the writer and his works.” (30 marks)

3. “Few, if any, Postcolonial theorists have engaged with Psychoanalytic theory.” Discuss. (30 marks)

Section B: PHENOMENOLOGY / EXISTENTIALISM / HERMENEUTICS

4. “Phenomenology studies the ways we experience things and, thus, the meanings things have in our experience.” Explain by referring closely to the views of TWO theorists studied. (30 marks)

5. “To understand a literary work is to let the individual who wrote it reveal himself to us in us.” Compare Poulet’s view of literary criticism here to EITHER Sartre’s OR Iser’s. (30 marks)

6. Examine the impact of Existentialism on TWO works of Postcolonial theory studied. (30 marks)


2014-2015
(Dr. N. Hunte)

Answer TWO questions:

1. In what ways does any ONE of the following expand on Sartre’s ideas in “Why Write”?

  • Poulet “Phenomenolgy of Reading”
  • Iser “The Reading Process”

[30 marks]

2. Discuss your understanding of Jauss’s attempt to ‘bridge the gap between historical and aesthetic approaches to literature’ in his “Literary History as a Challenge to Literary Thought”.  [30 marks]

3. "Similar terminology, different focus."  Examine the validity of this view in relation to Freud’s and Bloom’s approach to literature. [30 marks]

4. Discuss the differences and similarities between Jung’s “On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry” and Frye’s “The Archetypes of Literature”.  [30 marks]

5. Evaluate the significance of Marxism to ONE of the following:

  • Benjamin “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”

  • Lukács “Art and Objective Truth”

1.  6. According to Lukács, the literary work can achieve objectivity in its reflection of reality while according to Iser, the literary work constitutes a subjective experience.  In discussing BOTH views, give your reasons for which approach is more useful for reading literature.


2013-2014
(Dr. N. Hunte)

Answer TWO questions, ONE from EACH section.  Each question must be answered with close reference to TWO thinkers from the options provided. 

Section One:

1. “You study the document only in order to know the man.”  Discuss with reference to TWO of the following:

  • Eliot “Tradition and the Individual Talent”

  • Wimsatt and Beardsley “The Intentional Fallacy”

  • Freud “Creative Writers and Daydreaming”

  • Arnold “The Study of Poetry”

  • Taine “From History of English Literature

[30 marks]

2. To what extent do the author’s motivations shape the work?  Answer with reference to TWO of the following:

  • Wimsatt and Beardsley "The Intentional Fallacy"

  • Eliot “Tradition and the Individual Talent”

  • Bloom The Anxiety of Influence

  • Benjamin “The Author as Producer”

[30 marks]

3. Taine argues that literature reveals the ‘inner man.’  In what ways does any ONE of the following revise Taine’s discussion in History of English Literature?

  • Holland “Reading and Identity”

  • Johnson “Preface to Shakespeare

  • Goldmann “The Genetic Structuralist Method . . .”

  • Bloom The Anxiety of Influence

  • Benjamin “The Author as Producer”

[30 marks]

Section Two:

4. “The best of the poet’s work is to be found with the influence of his literary ancestors.”  Discuss with reference to TWO of the following:

  • Johnson “Preface to Shakespeare

  • Herder “Shakespeare”

  • Eliot “Tradition and the Individual Talent”

  • Bloom The Anxiety of Influence

  • Young “Conjectures on Original Composition”

[30 marks]

5. “To focus on the work itself is the only way to determine its literary value.”  Discuss with reference to TWO of the following:

  • Wimsatt and Beardsley “The Intentional Fallacy”

  • Arnold “The Study of Poetry”

  • Johnson “Preface to Shakespeare

  • Goldmann “The Genetic Structuralist Method . . .”

  • Freud “Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming”

  • Benjamin “The Author as Producer”

[30 marks]

6. “A transcript, not a textual construction, of human behaviour.”  Discuss with reference to TWO of the following:

  • Freud “Psychopathic Characters on the Stage”

  • Eliot “Tradition and the Individual Talent”

  • Taine “From History of English Literature

  • Wimsatt and Beardsley “The Intentional Fallacy”

[30 marks]


2012-2013

Answer TWO questions in all.

1. “From the late eighteenth century, increased emphasis was placed on the author’s originality, his genius and his intention.”  Discuss with reference to the views of at least TWO of the following theorists:

  • Johnson, Preface to Shakespeare;
  • Young, “Conjectures on Original Composition”;
  • Herder, “Shakespeare”;
  • Schleiermacher, “Compendium of 1819.”

(30 marks)

2. Would you agree that “Modernists and New Critics alike dismissed the expressivism and historicism of the Romantics”?  Answer by drawing on at least TWO of the following works:

  • Taine, Introduction to History of English Literature;
  • Arnold, “The Study of Poetry”;
  • Eliot, “Tradition and the Individual Talent”;
  • Wimsatt and Beardsley, “The Intentional Fallacy.”

(30 marks)

3. Examine the claim that “Freud sought to create a scientific psychology” with reference to at least TWO of his works below:

  • The Interpretation of Dreams;
  • “Formulations Regarding the Two Principles in Mental Functioning”;
  • “The Dissolution of the Oedipus Complex”;
  • “Fetishism.”

(30 marks)

4. Argue for or against the view that an “obsession with the author and his inadequacies is at the heart of Psychoanalytic literary theory” by discussing at least TWO of the following works:

  • Freud, “Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming”;
  • Freud, “Psychopathic Characters on the Stage”;
  • Bloom, The Anxiety of Influence;
  • Holland, “Reading and Identity: a Psychoanalytic Revolution”

(30 marks)

5. What do you understand by the term ‘historical materialism’?  Answer with reference to Marx’s The German Ideology and the Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. (30 marks)

6. Drawing on Benjamin’s “The Author as Producer” and Goldmann’s “The Genetic Structuralist Method in the History of Literature,” outline some of the main characteristics of a Marxist approach to literary criticism. (30 marks)


2011-2012

Answer TWO questions in all.

In each answer, you should refer to at least TWO relevant texts.

1. What light does Husserl’s “Phenomenology” shed on the discussion of the reading process found in:

EITHER Poulet’s “Phenomenology of Reading”

OR Iser’s “The Reading Process: a Phenomenological Approach”?

2. “To understand Sartre’s view of literature in ‘Why Write?’ a close acquaintance with his Existentialism and Humanism is indispensable.” Do you agree?

3. Discuss the influence of Gadamer’s Truth and Method on Jauss’ attempt to rethink conventional approaches to literary history in “Literary History as a Challenge to Literary Theory.”

4. In what ways is Lamming’s “The Negro Writer and his World” indebted to Fanon’s brand of Existentialism in Black Skin White Masks and/or The Wretched of the Earth?

5. “Whether Existentialists or Hermeneuticists, they are all phenomenologists.” Discuss this claim by comparing TWO of the following texts:

Husserl’s “Phenomenology”

Heidegger’s Being and Time

Sartre’s Existentialism and Humanism

Gadamer’s Truth and Method.


2010-2011

Answer TWO questions in all, ONE from Section A and ONE from Section B.

In each answer, you should refer closely to the arguments advanced in at least TWO relevant works studied.

SECTION A: PSYCHOANALYSIS

1. Discuss Freud’s claim that psychoanalysis is a "science of the mind and of human behaviour."

2. "Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious" (Freud). How has this view shaped psychoanalytic criticism?

3. Psychoanalysis offers the "best means of bringing to light those tendencies, feelings and reactions that have been repressed in the Caribbean mentality" (René Menil). Examine the impact of EITHER Freud OR Jung on ONE Caribbean theorist studied.

SECTION B: PHENOMENOLOGY / EXISTENTIALISM / HERMENEUTICS

4. What exactly is ‘phenomenological’ about Poulet’s "Phenomenology of Reading"?

5. Would it be fair to describe the thinking of EITHER Fanon OR Lamming as ‘Sartrean’?

6. In what ways is Iser’s model of the ‘reading process’ indebted to Gadamer’s Truth and Method?


2009-2010

Answer TWO questions, each from a different section.

In each answer, you should refer closely to the arguments advanced in at least TWO relevant works studied.

SECTION A: PSYCHOANALYSIS

1. "Everywhere I go, a poet has been there before me" (Freud).  Discuss the relationship between Psychoanalysis and literature.

2. Compare the Freudian perspective on literature with the Jungian.

3. Discuss the impact of Psychoanalysis on Postcolonial theory.

SECTION B: PHENOMENOLOGY / EXISTENTIALISM / HERMENEUTICS

4. Discuss the meaning of TWO of the following terms:

  • Phenomenology
  • Existentialism
  • Hermeneutics.
  • 5. "Reader-Response criticism is synonymous with the names Poulet, Jauss, Iser, and the like." Do you agree?

    6. What do you understand by the term ‘Black Existentialism’?


    2008-2009

    Answer TWO questions, each from a different section.

    In each answer, you should refer closely to the arguments advanced by the theorists in question.

    Do not repeat substantially the same material in both answers.

    Section A: General

    1. The schools of thought studied in this course all share what Paul Ricoeur terms a ‘hermeneutics of suspicion.’ Referring closely to the views of ONE Psychoanalytic and ONE Phenomenological/Existentialist/Hermeneutical theorist, say whether or not you agree with this statement.

    2. "Though we sometimes think of it as a single, unified phenomenon, the truth is that there are in fact different kinds of Postcolonial Theory." Discuss with reference to the views of ONE Psychoanalytic and ONE Phenomenological/Existentialist/Hermeneutical theorist studied this semester.

    Section B: Psychoanalysis

    3. Would you agree that Jungian Analytic Psychology is a "subset" of Freudian Psychoanalysis? Answer by comparing the views of Freud and Jung on the nature of the psyche and literature.

    4. Fanon once said that Marxism must be "stretched" if it is to be applicable to the colonial context. Is the same true of Psychoanalysis? Answer with reference to the views of TWO of the following theorists:

  • Frantz Fanon, "The Negro and Psychopathology"
  • René Ménil, "The Situation of Poetry in the Caribbean"
  • Wilson Harris, "History, Fable and Myth in the Caribbean and Guianas"
  • Section C: Phenomenology / Existentialism / Hermeneutics

    5. Explain TWO of the following terms by referring closely in each case to the views of ONE relevant theorist:

  • Phenomenology
  • Existentialism
  • Hermeneutics
  • 6. Discuss the phenomenological, existentialist and/or hermeneutical dimensions of the work of TWO Postcolonial theorists studied in this module.


    2007-2008

    Answer TWO (2) questions.  In each response, you should refer closely to those essay(s) by the theorists in question which you have studied this semester.

    1.    Compare Freud’s model of the psyche with Jung’s.

    2.    What light does Freud’s comments on the ‘dream-work’ in The Interpretation of Dreams shed on his views on literature in either "Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming" or "The Uncanny"?

    3.    What does Bloom mean when he speaks of the "psychology of belatedness which necessarily afflicts all literary creation"?  How, according to Bloom, does this notion help us to understand the emergence of Post-colonial literatures?

    4.    Jung maintains that the literary work has its main source not in the "personal unconscious of the poet, but in a sphere of unconscious mythology whose primordial images are the common heritage of mankind . . . the collective unconscious" (80). Discuss.

    5.    In what ways are Frye’s views on literature similar to Jung’s and in what way are they different?

    6.    "There is no reason to be surprised when an Antillean . . . relives the same fantasies as a European. It is because the Antillean partakes of the same collective unconscious as the European" (Fanon).  In his effort to grasp the ‘psychopathology of the negro,’ why does Fanon prefer to engage with Jungian analytical psychology over Freudian psychoanalysis?


    2006-2007
    (Nicola Hunte)

    Answer TWO (2) questions. Your answers must be in essay format.

    1.    Examine Elaine Showalter’s notions of feminist critique and gynocriticism from a Marxist feminist perspective.

    2.    To what extent would you agree that Frantz Fanon offers a ‘misreading’ of Marx’s Base/Superstructure model?

    3.    Elaborate on Amuta’s presentation of six (6) categories for the study of African literature.

    4.    Discuss Lukács’ notion of objective reality in literature and the ways in which the literary work can reflect this reality.

    5.    With reference to Walter Benjamin’s "The Author as Producer," discuss the implications of the writer’s awareness of his/her position in the process of production.

    6.    Analyze Gramsci’s notion of hegemony with reference to a Marxist model of society.


    2005-2006

    Answer TWO (2) questions.

    1.    Why does Sartre argue that the "error of realism has been to believe that the real reveals itself to contemplation, and that consequently one could draw an impartial picture of it"?

    2.    Compare the views of Hirsch and Iser on the nature and process of interpretation.

    3.    In what ways is Jauss’ model of literary history "radically different" from traditional views? Answer by outlining his four theses.

    4.    What, according to De Beauvoir, is a woman?

    5.    In the process of reading a woman’s text, Schweickart argues, the feminist reader "encounters . . . the ‘heart and mind’ of another woman." In what ways are Schweickart’s views similar to and different from Poulet’s?

    6.    What light does the "Hegelian dialectic," according to Fanon, shed on the predicament of the "Antillean negro"?

    7.    Discuss JanMohamed’s view that the "manichean allegory" is the "central trope" of the "colonialist economy of representation."


    SUMMER 1995

     


    1994-1995

    Answer TWO questions.  These must be from different sections.

    Section A

    1.    In what ways do the ideas and critical practices of T. S. Eliot and I. A. Richards anticipate the New Criticism?

    2.    With reference to the work of two critics, outline the basic arguments of New Criticism describing what you consider to be the relative strengths and/or weaknesses of this theory.

    Section B

    3.    With specific reference to the arguments advanced by Lukacs, discuss Marxist literary theory's critique of Modernism.

    4.    Explain the following concepts and indicate their relevance to Marxist literary theory: base/superstructure, ideology, social realism.

    Section C

    5.    Explain the terms 'abrogation' and 'appropriation' and indicate their significance to the overall objectives of Post-colonial theory.

    6.    How useful is Post-colonial theory as a reading strategy for Caribbean literature?  Discuss with specific reference to at least one text.  In your discussion, concentrate on the application of the theory rather than on the literary texts.

     

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