English | Critical Practices
L371 | 7262 | Jennifer Fleissner

Jennifer Fleissner

1:25p-2:15p MWF (30 students) 3 cr. A&H.

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.

TOPIC:  “Reading Minds”

This course will introduce students to diverse methods and debates
in literary-critical interpretation through a focus on a handful of
texts in which the main character can be read as presenting a
psychological challenge to our understanding: Herman
Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” Charlotte Perkins
Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Henry James’s The Turn of the
Screw, and Nella Larsen’s Quicksand.  Alongside each of these texts,
we will read a number of critical works that approach them from
different vantage points, and students will learn how to “do
readings” of the critical materials as well as of the literary
texts.  Because of the class’s focus, our main emphasis will be on
debates between differing approaches to psychological interpretation
(i.e., Freudian vs. Lacanian vs. neurological accounts), as well as
on debates between psychologically oriented criticism and other
critical modes that challenge its privileging of individual
interiority (such as historicism, materialism, deconstruction, or