Literary Theory

In this course we will study some of the major theoretical frameworks that have shaped and continue to shape contemporary literary criticism, such as Formalism and New Criticism, Psychoanalysis, Marxism, Deconstruction, Postcolonialism, Feminism and Queer Theory. We will analyze the concerns, problems, and concepts that have been the focus of critical production in the twentieth century and beyond, studying an array of analytical tools with which to approach literary works in insightful ways. Underlying this course is the assumption that theoretical premises inform all interpretations, even if those premises are left unexamined. Key issues we will study include the creation and the nature of meaning, the economic, social, and political stakes of literary texts, the dynamics of subjectivity, and the nature of language. We will also apply these theories to selected short stories, poems, and films.