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History of Literary Theory

ENGL 571.401
also offered as: COML501, GRMN 534, CLST 511, ROML 512
T 12-3
Class of 1954, Van Pelt Library, room 302

This course on literary theory will have a strong historical component.  We will be tracing out the transformation of key problems in foundational texts ranging from antiquity to the post-modern age, including works by Plato and Aristotle, Longinus, Augustine, Dante, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Benjamin, Foucault, Lacan, and Derrida (authors represented on the Comparative Literature Theory exam list), leading to our most contemporary concerns with postcoloniality, race, and gender.  Our readings will help us to understand the disciplinary and institutional transformation of literary studies in the last few decades.  We will look at the production and revision of such issues as text and culture, language and signification, representation, affect and the body, ownership and authority, canonicity, power and ideology, history and nation, and the constitution  of the subject.  Course requirements: three short papers (7 pages), and one oral report (accompanied by bibliography) as a final project.

fulfills requirements