L371 1969 FOSTER
Introduction to Criticism

11:15a-12:30p MW (30) 3 cr.

PREREQUISITE: L202 with grade of C- or better. NOTE: The English Department will strictly enforce this prerequisite. Students who have not completed L202 with a grade of C- or better will have their registration administratively cancelled

This course will provide a historical introduction to a variety of contemporary critical methods and practices in literary studies, possibly including formalism or New Criticism, reader response or reception theory; structuralism and post-structuralism or deconstruction; cultural studies; and various forms of ideology critique, including Marxism, feminism, critical race and post-colonial studies. Readings for the course will in part be organized around the concept of textuality, and we will focus on where various critical methods locate textual meaning, as well as on the historically shifting boundaries of what counts as a literary text. Our central questions will concern the different ways in which literary criticism has constructed its object of study and some of the ambiguities that result from these varied constructions, including the slippage between literary criticism as constituted through its exclusive focus on literature or literary value (as defined in contrast to, usually, mass media) and literary criticism as a theory of critical reading that might be applied to a wide range of cultural forms. We will be especially attentive to critical methods that attempt to challenge the modern philosophical distinction between literature and rhetoric, aesthetic experience and practical knowledge.

Assignments will likely include two short papers, a longer research paper, and a final exam.

Possible texts for the course may include:
Catherine Belsey, Critical Practice
Scott Carpenter, Reading Lessons
Charles Kaplan and William Davis Anderson, eds., Criticism: Major Statements
Terry Eagleton, The Ideology of the Aesthetic
Richard Lanham, The Electronic Word
Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics