ENGL602 - Critical Theory and Literary Criticism

This course will provide a survey of major theoretical approaches to literary studies. We will begin with some salient historical works and an overview of formalist and other early twentieth-century models. We will then explore in some depth numerous poststructural theories: deconstruction, postmarxism, feminism, and new historicism and go on to discuss more recent developments, such as postcolonial and queer theory, cultural studies, and critical race theory. Next we’ll speculate over what might succeed the poststructuralist paradigm and discuss topics like cognitivist approaches, new work in aesthetics, and neo-formalism. We will then study a single topic, the theory of reading; this will range from reader response to reception theory to concepts of distant reading and surface reading. Finally, we will spend a couple of weeks looking at some major issues and approaches in postclassical narrative theory.