In this course we will read a selection of important texts from modern literary theory in order to understand some of the major movements in theory in the twentieth century: the New Criticism, the "critical theory" of the Frankfort School, Reception Theory, Structuralism, Post-structuralism/Deconstruction, the New Historicism, Feminist theory, and Critical Legal Studies will be among the fields studied. Issues of aesthetics and politics and of culture and politics will be stressed. Among the theorists that we will read are: Simone de Beauvoir, Terry Eagleton, Louis Althusser, Patricia Williams, Georg Lukacs, Luce Irigaray, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Ferdinand de Saussure, Jacques Derrida, bell hooks, Michel Foucault, Jurgen Habermas, and Jean-Francois Lyotard. A regular regime of short seminar papers and a final long paperof fifteen pages will be required. There will be no exams.
Note: The English department encourages--but does not require--all majors to take a course in literary theory. For less experienced majors, English 100 may be an apt alternative to English 204.