Monday, April 9, 2012

Lit theory course description fall 2012

 The rise of literary theory has been the most exciting development on literary studies in the past half-century; yet it is also one of the most challenging, the most controversial, and the most poorly understood.  This course seeks to give a map of the main currents of contemporary theory. Why did theory come about? Who was ‘for’ it and ‘against’ it? What kinds of texts does theory explain, and how does it explain them? Does theory diversify our view of literature or does it impose a monolithic prism? Is theory for those who love literature or those who hate it? What does it say about whether literature is made ‘for’ entertainment, philosophical edification, or both? We will read  Percy Lubbock, George Orwell, Cleanth Brooks,  Roman Jakobson, Wayne Booth,  Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  and Gayatri Spivak to see what they, and we, have to say about these questions. We will also read three very different novels, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, R. Zamora Linmark's Rolling the Rs, and Carson McCullers' The Member of the Wedding to see how primary texts bear theoretical scrutiny and also ask questions of theoretical formulations 

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