English 190

Research Seminar: Anatomy of Criticism


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Spring 2022 Hanson, Kristin
TTh 3:30-5 Wheeler 305

Book List

Frye, N.: Anatomy of Criticism; Shakespeare, W.: A Midsummer Night's Dream; Shakespeare,, W.: Antony and Cleopatra; Shakespeare,, W.: The Winter's Tale; Shakespeare, , W.: Henry IV, Part I;

Recommended: Anon.: The Bibile (authorized King James Version); Aristotle: Poetics; Brinton, D.: Rig Veda Americanus; Faulkner, R. and Goelet, O. (trans): The Egyptian Book of the Dead; Frazier,, J. : The Golden Bough; Frye, N. : The Educated Imagination; Graves, R.: The Greek Myths

Description

What is literary criticism?  All English majors and English professors do it, or try to do it; but articulating what it is, or should be, is not easy.  The question is a theoretical one, which in this course we will consider with Canadian literary critic and theorist Northrop Frye as our guide.  Frye’s monumental Anatomy of Criticism (1957) argued that literary criticism ought to contribute to the development of an organized body of knowledge about literature, analogous to the organized body of knowledge about nature called physics.  Developing a strikingly contemporary argument through cross-cultural comparisons of literature with myth, religion, magic and ritual, Frye takes mankind’s relationships with nature on the one hand, and with language on the other, as fundamental to literature.  In this course, we will consider these ideas alongside occasional examples from Shakespeare that we are all likely to have encountered at least passingly in other courses.  The emphasis, however, will be on using the ideas to help each of us think about what our own literary criticism may contribute to such a body of knowledge.  Reflecting Frye’s deep commitment to every work of literature being relevant to understanding literature as a phenomenon, each student will research and write a long (20 pp.) valedictory paper of literary criticism on any work of English literature they choose.

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