RICHARD L. W. CLARKE


 

 

 

LITS3303 MODERN CRITICAL THEORY
(FORMERLY E33C MODERN LITERARY THEORY)
 

COURSE ARCHIVE

2012-2013

2011-2012

2010-2011

2009-2010

2008-2009

2007-2008

2006-2007
(Nicola Hunte)

2005-2006

1995-1996
(Curwen Best)

1994-1995
(Curwen Best)

PAST EXAM PAPERS:

   LITS3303

   LITS2307

ANNUAL CLASS PHOTOS:

   LITS3303

   LITS2307


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THUMBNAIL DESCRIPTION

This course is a level III version of LITS2307 Modern Critical Theory with which it is more or less identical.  It introduces students to several schools of Continental philosophy and critical theory (chosen from Psychoanalysis, Marxism and Phenomenology) as well as Feminist, Post-colonial and African American thinkers who have engaged with these schools.

DETAILLED DESCRIPTION

The goal of this course is to deepen students' familiarity with literary theory by introducing them to some of the most important modern schools of thought.  To this end, we focus in particular on three so-called 'Continental' schools: 

Marxism: do (literary) works necessarily express the economic structure of the social and historical environments in which their writers live?

Phenomenology, Existentialism and Hermeneutics: do (literary) works necessarily express the unique ways in which their authors or their readers experience and make sense of reality?

Psychoanalysis: do (literary) works necessarily express, albeit indirectly, those repressed unconscious portions of their writers' psyche?

We will begin by exploring general philosophical issues concerning the nature of reality, identity, knowledge and language advanced by the school in question.  We will then investigate its main critical tenets and interpretative strategies.  We will explore in particular what, if anything, its major theorists have to say about the following issues:

Representation: the nature of the relationship between the (literary) work and the world;

Audience: the nature of the relationship between the audience and the (literary) work;

(Literary) Form: the nature of the formal structure and genre of (literary) works;

Authorship: the nature of the relationship between the author and his / her (literary) work; and

(Literary) History, Intertextuality, Canonicity: the nature of the relationship that links (literary) works to each other and the wider socio-historical context.

To these ends, we will also compare the views of key Continental thinkers with seminal Feminist, Post-colonial and African American interventions on the same topics.  For example, we may compare Sartreís Existentialism and Humanism with appropriate excerpts from De Beauvoirís The Other Sex and Fanonís The Wretched of the Earth

Through close examination of practical illustrations of these theories (especially with reference to Post-colonial literatures), students will also be encouraged to apply the paradigms discussed in their own critical writings.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of the semester, students should have:

become acquainted with the views of key thinkers in the Continental tradition (e.g. Hegel, Heidegger) as well as those of Feminist, Post-colonial and African American theorists who have engaged with these schools;

acquired a more nuanced and complex view of key concepts, debates and issues in the field, including:

Topics in Literary Theory:

Representation,

Audience,

Literary Form (structure, genre, etc.),

Authorship,

Literary History, Intertextuality, Canonicity,

Literature,

Wider Philosophical Topics:

the nature of reality,

the nature of human identity,

the nature of knowledge,

the nature of language,

the question of right and wrong, how we ought to live together, and the nature of human society and polity;

acquired the ability to apply the insights of literary theory to the study of works.

PREREQUISITES

A pass in LITS2306 History of Criticism (Because LITS2306 History of Criticism provides an indispensable foundation for this course, it is in studentsí interest to register for this course only when this prerequisite has been met.)

LITS3303 Modern Critical Theory provides a highly recommended foundation for LITS3304 Post-Structuralisms and Post-colonialisms

ASSESSMENT

Seminar Participation and / or Presentation(s) and / or Response(s): 10%

Term Paper: 30%

Final Examination: 60% (2 questions in 2 hours)

Please note that, whatever the final mark, students must pass at least one question in the final exam to pass any course in Literatures in English.  Failures of this sort are denoted by FE ('Failed Exam') on the grade slip.

This site was last updated: January 22, 2013

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