Course Instructor Days Times Room


This course will investigate the principles and practices of contemporary literary criticism. We will focus our attention on several major approaches within modern and contemporary literary criticism and the theories that sustain them. Our examination of these various approaches will focus not only on understanding the methodologies of each—and the application of each, but also on identifying what is at stake in any given reading. That is, by inquiring into a text's meaning, we will interrogate the ways and means whereby the act of literary criticism reproduces and institutionalizes as well as challenges and transforms cultural values.





Presentations (20%):  You will participate in two “LitCrit Blowout” group performances, The presentations will be evaluated by the class members by the following criteria:  Was the presentation clear, coherent, organized, interesting, understandable, discussion-provoking?  Was the argument well articulated?  Was the evidence provided compelling? 5 = Absolutely! Fantastic! 4 = Yes.  3 = Kinda, but at least it was interesting. 2 = I have no idea what you are talking about.  1 = I have no idea what you are talking about and you are boring to boot.

Summary-Application Papers (SAPs) (50%):  You will compose five SAPs, “notes toward a reading,” each approximately two pages long, typed, single-spaced. Each is a tightly written summary of the key assumptions/practices of a theoretical approach and a tentative application of that theory to The Awakening.  See assignment sheet for details and evaluative criteria.  You can select which SAPs to complete; however, they must be completed in a timely fashion, meeting the stated SAP deadlines (that is, you cannot turn all five SAPs in at the end of the semester).

Final Exam (30%):  You will sit for a three-hour final, composed of identifications, covering the entire semester’s study.




Attendance:  I expect you to be present, prepared, and engaged.  Three absences are allowed (I make no distinction between “excused” and “unexcused” absences); after that, it will be impossible for you to receive a final grade better than a “D.”

Late Work:  All work is due the day specified by the syllabus; late work will receive half credit. Absences do not excuse late work.

No Electronic Devices:  aka no electronic distractions.  I expect you to be present, prepared, and engaged. 



Texts (all available at the UGA Bookstore):

Lois Tyson’s Critical Theory Today (3rd ed.)

Julian Wolfreys’ edited Introducing Criticism in the 21st Century (2nd ed.)

Kate Chopin's The Awakening (any edition)

Astra Taylor’s Examined Life: Excursions with Contemporary Thinkers