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Literary Theory

ENGL 571.401
instructor(s):
T 1-4

This course on literary theory will have a strong historical component. We will be tracing out the transformation of certain key problems in ancient, post-classical, early modern, and modern foundational texts, including works by Plato and Aristotle, Longinus, Augustine, Dante and Boccaccio, Sidney, Kant, Nietzsche, and Freud (authors represented on the Comparative Literature Theory exam list). Our readings in contemporary literary and cultural criticism will, to a large extent, be focused around the disciplinary and institutional transformation of literary studies in the last few decades. We will look at the historical production and revision of such issues as language and signification, mimesis and representation, affect and the body, ownership and authority, canonicity, tradition, and dissent, and ideologies of the aesthetic. Course requirements: two short papers (7-10 pages, to be used also towards discussion) and one longer research paper. No final exam.