LITS3304 TERM PAPER 2004-2005

Answer one of the following questions:

1. Comparing his Course in General Linguistics with earlier models with which you are familiar, explain in what sense Saussure's philosophy of language may be described as "revolutionary." 

2. Discuss the epistemological implications of Saussure's view of language.

3. In what way is Lévi-Strauss' model of cultural identity in Structuralist Anthropology indebted to Saussure's theory of signification?  How is this view of culture different from that which predominated in the nineteenth century?

4. "If meaning in language rises not from the reference of signs to something outside words but from differential relations among the signs themselves, then the notion of a literary text as existing in a one-to-one correspondence to (or reflecting) some independent social, historical or psychological reality can no longer be taken for granted."  Use Barthes’s essays "Myth Today" and "The Reality Effect" to explore, in the light of this statement, the challenge posed to the concept of realism by the Saussurean critique of the sign. 

5. "Subjectivity is less the origin of language than the effect thereof."  Use Benveniste’s essays "The Nature of Pronouns" and "Subjectivity in Language" to discuss, in the light of this statement, the challenge to the concept of ‘self-expression’ posed by the Saussurean critique of the sign. 

6.Aristotle is arguably the first narratologist.  Compare the Structuralist approach to narratology advanced by Todorov in "Structural Analysis of Narrative" and "The Grammar of Narrative" with earlier Neo-Aristotelian approaches. 

7.What does Jakobson mean when he writes that the "poetic function projects the principle of equivalence from the axis of selection into the axis of combination"?  Discuss some of the consequences of this view for the study of poetry.

8. Discuss the implications of Saussure's philosophy of language for conventional assumptions about the realism of either Post-colonial literature or African American literature or literature written by women.

9. Using Gates' essays on Frederick Douglass as your guide, critique the concept of self-expression in female-authored literature.

10. Using Lanser's essay as your guide, discuss the usefulness of narratological analysis for the study of Post-colonial or African American literature.

DEADLINE: 6 pm, Thursday November 11, 2004. 

LENGTH: approx. 10 pages (double-spaced)

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