ENGL 6637-A - Criticism and Theory - Syllabus

Summer 2005

CRN 50842

T/Th 5:30-90:30 p.m., Newton 1110

Dr. David Robinson

Office: Newton 3303

GSU English Department Telephone: (912) 681-5471

Office Telephone: (912) 681-0155

E-mail: dwrob@georgiasouthern.edu

Web site: http://ogeechee.litphil.georgiasouthern.edu

Office Hours: By appointment.

Required Text: Hazard Adams & Leroy Searle, Critical Theory Since Plato (3rd Ed., ISBN 0-155-05504-6)

Course Description:

Literary theory - the act of reflecting on what we are doing when we read and interpret literature - is central to our mission as teachers and scholars of literature. No graduate student is prepared for the current state of the profession without being conversant in the principal discourses of theory. This seminar will introduce you to those discourses, help you to develop your own sense of how to approach literature, and enable you to put the practices of individual critics (including yourselves) in historical perspective.

The course aims specifically at providing students with a broad grasp of the issues and major voices in literary theory, and at identifying some of the current trends in the field. Using Hazard Adams's and Leroy Searle's Critical Theory Since Plato, we will trace the development of ideas about the nature of literature and interpretation, covering (among others) Plato and Aristotle, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Romantic movement, the rise of formalism(s), psychoanalytic criticism, Marxist criticism, feminist criticism, structuralism, and post-structuralism.

Graded Assignments: A short paper reviewing a non-assigned work in the Adams anthology, an in-class presentation on the same, daily typed questions on the reading material, a research paper tracing the development of critical response to a work of literature, and the final examination.


Short Paper--15%
Oral Presentation--5%
Daily Written Questions - 10%
Research Paper-45%
Final Examination-25%

Tentative Schedule of Classes:

Tuesday June 21 Introductory Remarks.

Plato: Ion (10), Republic excerpts (16), Sophist excerpt (38), Cratylus (the whole thing, available on-line).

Exercise: experiment in practical criticism.

Short paper assignment.

Long paper assignment.

Thursday June 23 Discusion of the experiment.

Wrap-up on Plato.

Aristotle and Greek Tragedy: Aristotle, Poetics (52), Sophocles' Oedipus (any edition will do; also available on-line).

Tuesday June 28 Classical and Renaissance Rhetorics. Horace (79), Pseudo-Longinus (95), Plotinus (128), Sidney (186), Vico (314).

Biblical Hermeneutics. Augustine (141, plus handout), Aquinas (150), Dante (154).

Thursday June 30 Neoclassicism. Corneille (244), Locke (282), Pope (298), Burke (333), Johnson, "Preface to Shakespeare" (361).

Short paper presentations.

Tuesday July 5 Kant (419).
Thursday July 7 Romanticism: Wordsworth (482), Coleridge (494), Shelley's poem "Mont Blanc" (hand-out).

Art & Society: Arnold (587), Marx (608), Freud (747).

Tuesday July 12 Varieties of Formalism.

Russian Formalism: Shklovsky (797), Eichenbaum (868), Jakobson (1132).

New Criticism: Eliot (807), Wimsatt & Beardsley (1027), Brooks (1036)

Thursday July 14 Structuralism and Poststructuralism. Saussure (787), Levi-Strauss (1120), Foucault (1260), Althusser (1298).

Final paper due.

Tuesday July 19 Derrida, "Structure Sign, and Play" (1206), "Of Grammatology" (1220), "The Parergon" (hand-out).
Thursday July 21 Final Exam