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Introduction to Literary Theory
/ COMP 240
This course introduces students to some of the most significant and compelling trends in modern criticism-such as gender and postcolonial theory, deconstruction, sociological analysis, and psychoanalytic criticism-in an applied, hands-on way. The course will engage a range of primary texts from Shakespeare to Hitchcock by way of varied theoretical approaches. Can Othello , for instance, be read as a feminist text? A site of class struggle? A staging of the relationship between language and the unconscious? The course aims both to make familiar some of the critical methods students are likely to encounter in the field of literary studies these days, and to show how such methods can transform our understanding of a text, opening surprising possibilities even in familiar works. In the process, the course will also raise broader questions about the imperatives and usefulness of literary theory in relation to texts and worlds.
Format: seminar; discussion
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
frequent short papers totaling 20 pages
a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam
first- and second-year students, and English majors who have yet to take a Gateway course
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
The course fulfills the writing skills requirement by asking students to complete four five-page papers evenly spaced over the course of the semester, providing an opportunity for revision. Each paper will receive full comments on writing and argumentation, as well as on content.
AMST Critical and Cultural Theory Electives
ENGL Criticism Courses
ENGL 200-level Gateway Courses