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Literary Theory

ENGL 204.401
instructor(s):
TR 1:30-3

This course aims at providing an exposure to some of the main discourses of literary theory. We will start with Barthes's approach to popular culture in Mythologies, and explore structural semiotics. We will move on to the later work and read his essays on photography. We will then reopen a critical debate opposing deconstruction and psychoanalysis in a series of readings based on Poe's "Purloined Letter". This will lead us into two different directions -- Derrida's redefinition of "writing" in Writing and Difference and Zizek's Lacanian interpretations of popular culture (Looking Awry). Finally we will conclude by tackling the issue of interpretation and over-interpretation.

Requirements: Four shorter papers of five pages, one research paper of ten pages, one oral report. No final exam.

Bibliography: A Barthes Reader, ed. S. Sontag, Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida, The Purloined Poe, ed. Muller and Richardson, Umberto Eco, Interpretation and Overinterpretation, S. Zizek, Looking Awry, J. Derrida, Writing and Difference.