Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Theories of Literature 2: Literature Criticism Theory - Then and Now (Part 2)

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION The study-unit reviews some of the major theoretical currents to emerge in recent decades, pausing on significant passages/essays in the work of figures like Foucault, Derrida, Blanchot, Jameson and Butler. It concludes with sessions on the understanding of literature and the literary in the present, reviewing some of the main trends in contemporary literary studies and critical practice.

Study-Unit Aims:

- To introduce students to aspects of the histories of literary theory;
- To help students place in context theoretical influences on literary studies;
- To make students aware of contrasting critical perspectives on literature, on the function of literary criticism, and on the natures and urgencies of literary theory;
- To induce students to read with enhanced critical and theoretical nous.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- appreciate the historical depth and range of intellectual and cultural influences in the development of the idea of criticism, of literature, of theory;
- take in some of the connotations that allow for distinctions to be made between the age associated with the man of letters, the age of 'literary criticism', the age of 'theory', and the present;
- connect current contexts, agendas and developments in literary studies and literary criticism with broader intellectual traditions and currents;
- appreciate the range of conceptual concerns and methodological tools for literary interpretation that are offered by literary theory.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- read criticism and theory more confidently;
- make connections between critical thought and literary practice;
- deploy the skills indicated in the points above to adapted use in other contexts where critique is called for.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:
- Arnold, Matthew, 'The Function of Criticism at the Present Time'.
- Baldick, Chris, Criticism and Literary Theory: 1890 to the Present (London: Longman, 1996).
- Boxall, Peter, and Michael Jonik (eds), '30@30', Textual Practice, 30.7 (2016): 1149-1185.
- Collini, Stefan, Common Writing: Essays on Literary Culture and Public Debate (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
- Culler, Jonathan, Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997).
- Gross, John, The Rise and Fall of the Man of Letters (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1969).
- Kaplan, Charles, and William David Anderson, Criticism: Major Statements (London: St Martin's Press, 1999).
- Leitch, Vincent B., William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John McGowan, T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, Jeffrey J. Williams, eds, The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 2nd edn (New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 2010).
- Lodge, David, ed., 20th Century Literary Criticism and Theory: A Reader (London: Longman, 1972).
- Russell, D. A., Criticism in Antiquity, 2nd edn (London: Bristol Classical Press, 1995).
- Taylor, D. J., The Prose Factory, London: Chatto & Windus, 2016.

Reading packs are made available to students at the start and in the course of the study-unit. Students are also expected to refer regularly to journals like the following:

Angelaki, boundary 2, CounterText, Critical Inquiry, Critique, Diacritics, Essays in Criticism, European Journal of English Studies, Modern Language Notes, New Literary History, Oxford Literary Review, Paragraph, Parallax, Substance, PMLA, Textual Practice.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-requisite Study-unit: ENG1077


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Ivan Callus

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.