(Primary Sources)

Most of the Required Readings listed may be found in the anthologies listed under 'Primary Sources' in the Booklist.  The term 'required' means that you are required to read these selections carefully and, where possible, in tandem with my notes (see below) ahead of the class in question.

The Required Readings are also often found in a variety of other sources in the Main Library and / or on the web (links to which I add as I find them).  Links to on-line sources may also be found on the relevant PhilWeb pages (see below).  Normally copies of only those items not found in one of the primary sources suggested for purchase or available on-line will be placed in the Course Folder to be found in the Main Library.

The required readings are often difficult to read.  You may need to read them several times -- once is rarely sufficient.  They call upon you to develop the ability to read critically.  This is a very different set of skills from that which students of literature most often possess and which we ordinarily employ when we sink our teeth into a good novel and let ourselves be carried away in a rather uncritical fashion.  Perhaps the best way to grasp difficult readings is to make a detailled précis thereof for oneself (i.e. summarise or jot down notes as you read).  For some reason, we assimilate knowledge better when we write notes on what we read.  All in all, to understand these kinds of texts calls for a great deal of effort, conscious deliberation and reflection and, above all, patience.  

(Secondary Sources)

Under this rubric, I try to list at least one item drawn, if possible, from the surveys and introductions listed under 'Secondary Sources' in the Booklist and available in the Main Library.  Other recommended readings may be found on the relevant PhilWeb page under 'Secondary Sources' (see below).

The term 'recommended' means that you would be well advised to read these selections which are designed to provide necessary background on and clarifications of the required readings, but it is up to you whether you do so.  You may find them especially useful when it comes to assimilating the material covered, writing term papers, and / or preparing for the exam.


The items listed under this heading are practical illustrations of the literary theory in question at work.  It is up to you whether you read it or not but you should bear in mind that one of the best ways to grasp a theory is to  see it applied.  For example, Marie Bonaparte's The Life and Works of Edgar Allan Poe: a Psycho-analytic Interpretation is a wonderful application of Freudian psychoanalytic principles to literary criticism.


Under this rubric, you will find links to relevant pages of my PhilWeb: Theoretical Resources Off- and On-Line.  You will find here pages devoted to particular approaches, periods, schools of thought, theorists, etc.  Especially useful are the lists of primary and secondary sources, both off- and on-line, which you may wish to consult.


I normally place a link to the notes (usually in PDF format) the week prior to the class in question.  (Click here for information on PDF files and Adobe Acrobat Reader, or if you are having trouble downloading the notes.)  Please check for the notes before class, read them carefully, print (or store them on your iPad or similar device), and bring them with you to class.  Where no notes have been posted, I will bring photocopies to class.

Sometimes the notes consist of paraphrases of the primary source in question.  Sometimes, though, they are overviews and, as such, are not meant to be exhaustive but, rather, merely suggestive and indicative, serving as a foundation for further exploration of both primary and secondary sources.  I add to these overviews as new information and insights present themselves.

Ideally, you should study the notes in conjunction with the primary sources upon which they are based as well as relevant secondary sources.  Do not rely solely on the notes: carefully read the primary source in question. 

You should not assume that because the notes are on-line, you do not need to attend class regularly.  In fact, there are many vital things covered in class which cannot be included in the notes.  Of course, regular attendance becomes all the more important as the exam approaches.  If you are unable, for legitimate reasons, to attend particular classes, you have my permission to ask a colleague to record them.  


Occasionally, I also include questions based on the Required Readings and which are designed to help you assimilate the material covered in the lectures.  Tutorials sometimes revolve around the questions listed for that week.  Sometimes, the questions will serve as the springboard for discussion.  At other times, however, we may not discuss the questions at all in order to focus, for example, on a close reading of a particular essay or extract.  In such a case, it is in your interest to answer the Questions on your own.

Please download, print, answer, and bring a copy of the relevant questions to each tutorial. 

This site was last updated: August 25, 2015

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Philosophy's Other: Theory on the Web

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