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 potential 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.


Students will write a number of "summary application" papers that--as the name suggests--summarize a particular theoretical approach and apply it to a literary text.  Students will also participate in several competitive presentations that, likewise, use theoretical approaches to interpret literary texts, and there will be a final exam that allows students the opportunity to demonstrate their fluency in the theoretical terminology.  


Lois Tyson, Critical Theory Today (3rd edition)

Julian Wolfreys, Introducing Criticism in the 21st Century (2nd edition)

Julian Wolfreys, Critical Keywords in Literary and Cultural Theory 

Astra Taylor, Examined Life