COMP 380 Literary and Critical Theory in the Twentieth Century

Last offered Fall 2013

Cross Listed as ENGL370
From the rise of modern literary criticism around 1900 to the explosion of high theory in the 1980s and 1990s, the twentieth century witnessed an international flowering of new ideas about how to interpret art and literature: Russian Formalism, American New Criticism, French Structuralism and Deconstruction, new varieties of hermeneutic criticism, and a welter of post- prefixed concepts that claim to transcend national boundaries: the poststructural, the postmodern, the postcolonial, the posthuman. What are the ideas associated with these different movements, and how are they connected? Does each represent a radical break with previous ways of reading, or do they actually build on one another and evolve in a systematic way? The course will focus on careful reading of essays representing major 20th-century critical schools (and a couple of their earlier precursors), by critics like Schiller, Shklovsky, I.A. Richards, Barthes, Derrida, Said, and others. Written assignments will encourage you to parse these theories carefully and apply them to the literary texts that most interest you: prose or poetry from any time and place; film, visual art, or architecture; music, new media, or digital media, etc.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: attendance and active participation, several short response assignments summarizing and applying the theory, and a final project consisting of a scripted oral presentation plus a final 15-page paper
Additional Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: at least one previous literature or theory course
Enrollment Preference: students majoring in a related discipline
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Divisional Attributes: Division I
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Enrollment Limit: 15
Expected Enrollment: 12
Class Number: 1735
COMP 380 SEM 20th Century Literary Theory Division 1: Languages and the Arts Christopher A. Bolton
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