COURSES IN LITERARY THEORY
LITS2306 HISTORY OF CRITICISM
In this course, students were introduced, in Module One, to the Classical foundations of philosophy, rhetoric and literary theory advanced by seminal theorists such as Plato, Aristotle, Quintilian, and Longinus as well as, in Module Two, to competing perspectives, philosophical versus rhetorical, on two important topics:
Representation and Form:
We explored several answers to these questions offered by a wide range of theorists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries such as as Zola, Wilde, Lubbock, Forster, Crane, Booth, Tolstoy, Arnold, Pater, Richards and Rosenblatt.
To build on this foundation and to deepen your understanding of the basics of literary theory and criticism as well as what it takes to be a skilful and effective literary critic, you should register over the next few semesters for some or all the following courses:
LITS3301 ISSUES IN CRITICISM
This course builds on the foundation erected in LITS2306 History of Criticism and thus functions in effect as Part II of that course. In Module One, we shall compare the views of several important early modern and Romantic philosophers and rhetoricians (e.g. Francis Bacon, Montaigne, René Descartes, John Locke, G. W. F. Hegel, Giambattista Vico, Friedrich Nietzsche) as well as literary theorists (e.g. Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson, Edward Young, and Friedrich von Schleiermacher).
In Module Two, we shall we shall focus our attention on two other important topics not covered in LITS2306:
Literary History, Intertextuality, Canonicity:
We shall explore several competing answers to these questions offered, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, by several important theorists such as Matthew Arnold, Hippolyte Taine, T. S. Eliot, Wimsatt and Beardsley, Leo Spitzer, and Walter Ong.
LITS3303 MODERN CRITICAL THEORY
This course introduces students to several modern schools of theory, such as Marxism, Psychoanalysis and Phenomenology. This year the course will build on students' exposure to the classical foundations of rhetoric (the study of the production of persuasive discourse) and hermeneutics (the study of the interpretation of discourse) in Parts I and II of the History of Criticism course in order to explore modern schools of criticism that emphasise a rhetorical approach to the study of literature and culture.
The course will seek to answer the following basic questions. First, does an understanding of rhetoric and hermeneutics shed any light on literature? That is, can and should we study literature from a rhetorical / hermeneutical perspective? Second, does an understanding of literature, in turn, shed any light on rhetoric and hermeneutics? That is, can and should we read non-literary discourse from a literary perspective? Can we, in short, apply the skills which we possess as literary critics, that is, can we do what literary critics do (i.e. literary criticism) to other, strictly speaking non-literary texts? The answer to each of these questions offered by this course is, as we shall see, in the affirmative.
In Module One, accordingly, we shall study the views on rhetoric advanced by several key twentieth century theorists, such as as Kenneth Burke, Richard Weaver, Chaim Perelman, Stephen Toulmin, Robert Scott, Lloyd Bitzer, Edwin Black, Walter Fisher, and Richard Vatz.
In Module Two, we shall explore several rhetorical models of literature (e.g. Kenneth Burke, Wayne Booth, Harold Bloom, Stanley Fish, Henry Louis gates, Jr.) as well as the literary / rhetorical dimensions of the discourses produced in several purportedly scientific and/or philosophical (i.e. allegedly non-literary) fields of knowledge, such as Anthropology (e.g. Clifford Geertz), Economics (e.g. Deirdre McCloskey), History (e.g. Hayden White), Law (e.g. James Boyd White), the Natural Sciences (e.g. Thomas Kuhn, Paul Newell Campbell, Walter Weimer, Alan Gross), Philosophy (e.g. Richard Rorty), Psychology (e.g. Michael Billig), and the Social Sciences (e.g. Joseph Gusfield, Richard Harvey Brown, Michael Overington).
This site was last updated:
October 25, 2016