English | Introduction to Criticism
L371 | 1898 | Rosenblum


1:25p-2:15p MWF (30) 3 cr.

PREREQUISITE: L202

"The nature of theory is to undo, through a contesting of premisses
and postulates, what you thought you knew, so the effects of theory
are not predictable. You have not become master, but neither are
you where you were before. You reflect on your reading in new
ways. You have different questions to ask and a better sense of the
implications of the questions you put to works you read."
--Jonathan Culler, LITERARY THEORY

Hopefully this course will help students feel comfortable with the
kind of perpetual "undoing" that Culler associates with theory. We
will read recent theory which tries to complicate our notions about
the nature of literature, the act of writing, and the act of reading.
We will also read some of the "classic" literary criticism which
contemporary theory attempts to question. I have not yet decided
on texts yet but we will use Culler's CRITICAL THEORY, A
VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION (Oxford, 1997) as a starting
point. It will be supplemented by an anthology of classic criticism
and of recent theory. We will also read a few literary texts with
accompanying commentary using different critical perspectives.
Joyce's A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN is
one possibility. Students will be asked to write frequent short
themes as well as three or four longer papers (4-5 pages).