This course will consist in an exploration of main issues in literary criticism and theory, a field that has recently undergone massive changes. We will go back to a number of foundational texts (Plato, Aristotle, Longinus, Kant, Nietzsche) and work from a few key concepts, such as "tradition," "mimesis," "canonicity," "ideology," "authority," "performativity," and "subjectivity" in order to problematize and historicize the ways in which we read literature. Most of the texts we will study are taken from David Richter's The Critical Tradition (New York, 1989). Course requirements: two papers (ten pages each), a final research paper expanding one of these papers and an oral report. No final exam.