English 160

Special Topics: Methods and Materials of Literary Criticism

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2008 Hale, Dorothy J.
Hale, Dorothy
TTh 9:30-11 101 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Leitch, V: The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism


What gives literature its special status, both as an art form and as a culturally important discourse? Does the value of literature reside in its power to improve society? In the quality of the emotion it produces? In the type of knowledge it makes possible? In the beauty it offers? This course studies the way questions about literariness and literary value have been theorized in the history of criticism. Course reading ranges broadly from Plato to Derrida, from Aristotle to Adorno. Our investigation of the problem of the literary will lead us to consider related topics such as genre, genius, mimesis, imagination, beauty, ethics, authorship, intentionality, textuality, fictionality, social discourse, ideology, and canonicity. The seminar format invites students to bring their own questions and investments to the course reading. Requirements include one oral presentation and two short essays (each 7-8 pages).

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