English 4110/5110 Literary Criticism

MW 3:30-4:45PM, Arts & Sciences 353, Fall 2013


Dr. Alex E. Blazer


Office Hours:

MTW 1:15-1:45PM Arts & Sciences 330,

R 1:15-1:45PM Blackbird,

and by appt


Course Description


While the undergraduate catalog describes English 4110 as "A study of literary criticism from Aristotle to the present, with particular emphasis on recent applications of contemporary theories," that characterization more aptly describes English 3900. While English 3900 is a survey of critical approaches to literature such as New Criticism and formalism, structuralism and semiotics, poststructuralism and postmodernism, reader-response criticism, deconstruction, New Historism, post colonialism, psychoanalytic criticism, Marxist criticism, feminist criticism, African-American criticism, and lesbian/gay/queer criticism, English 4110/5110 is a focused study of two or three interpretive methodologies (approved by the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum & Instruction Committee, 10 March 2010). This course's Academic Assessment page describes our topics:

as well as course outcomes:

This semester, we will concentrate on psychoanalytic film theory. We will read theorists such as de Lauretis, Metz, Mulvey, and Žižek, available in a course packet. We will view films by directors such as Hitchcock, Kubrick, Lynch, and Potter, in a range of genres including French New Wave, teen comedy, horror film, and drama. Can I Stream It? provides links to films on streaming services like Amazon, iTunes, and Netflix; films with no streaming availability will be screened at a scheduled time outside of class. Undergraduate assignments include article summaries, the psychoanalysis of a scene, a theoretical paper, and a research paper. Graduate students will teach a class, review a book, and write a research paper. Note that this undergraduate course's prerequisite is ENGL 2110 or IDST 2305.


Course Materials


required articles (online)

course packet

required films

Cashback (Ellis, 2006, 17 min)

Un Chien Andalou (Buñuel, 1929, 16 min, surrealism)

Copy Shop (Widrich, 2001, 12 min)

Film (Schneider, 1964, 17 min)

Hotel Chevalier (Anderson, 2007, 13 min)

The Psychology of Dream Analysis (Johnson, 2002, 10 min)

A Trip to the Moon | with narration (Méliès, 1902, 12min, science fiction & fantasy)

required films (Can I Stream It?)

eXistenZ (Cronenberg, 1999, 97 min, science fiction)

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Hughes, 1986, 106 min, teen dramedy)

The 400 Blows (Truffaut, 1959, 99 min, French New Wave)

Ginger & Rosa (Potter, 2012, 90 min, drama)

The Master (Anderson, 2012, 144 min, drama)

Mulholland Dr. (Lynch, 2001, 147 min, neo-noir)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Chbosky, 2012, 102 min, teen romance)

The Pervert's Guide to Cinema (Fiennes, 2006, 150 min, documentary)

Rear Window (Hitchcock, 1954, 112 min, thriller)

The Shining (Kubrick, 1980, 146 min, horror)

Silver Linings Playbook (Russell, 2012, 122 min, romantic comedy)

Spider-Man (Raimi, 2002, 121 min, superhero comic book)

recommended books (Amazon)

Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis

Gibaldi, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed.

recommended site

No Subject: Encyclopedia of Lacanian Psychoanalysis


Assignments and Grade Distribution


4110 Undergraduate Students


two article summaries, 5% each

You will sign up to summarize two theoretical articles in two 2-3 page papers.

scene analysis and presentation, 20%

You will pair up to analyze a 2-3 minute film scene in a collaboratively written 5-6 page paper and 7-10 minute presentation.

theoretical paper, 20%

In a 7-9 page paper, you will compare and contrast two theoretical articles covered in class.

research paper, 25%

You will write an 8-10 page research paper on a film or film issue.

final exam, 25%

The 10-12 page take-home essay exam will test your understanding of psychoanalytic film theory as applied to in-class films. Here's how to calculate your final grade.


5110 Graduate Students


annotated bibliography and presentation, 15%

You will sign up to compile an annotated bibliography of an assigned film and teach the class the best scholarly article found.

theoretical paper, 25%

In a 9-10 page paper, you will compare and contrast two theoretical articles covered in class.

book review, 25%

In a 9-10 page paper, you will summarize and evaluate, appreciate and interrogate, a book by a theorist covered in class.

research paper, 35%

You will write a 12-15 page research paper on a film or film issue and present your paper to the class. Here's how to calculate your final grade.


Course Policies


Class Preparation and Participation

We're going to be working with challenging texts; therefore, we'll all benefit from sharing our ideas and questions. I expect you to come to class having read, annotated, and reviewed the assigned reading. To make sure your reading is active, I suggest you also prepare a few comments and questions for each selection. If I feel that the class is not participating because it's not keeping up with the reading, I will give pop quizzes.

Office Hours and Email

I encourage you to visit my office hours to discuss any aspect of the course. I am happy to answer minor questions such as due dates over email, but I prefer face-to-face conversations for more substantive topics like papers and exams. Please use etiquette in both email and in person.


We will be using GeorgiaVIEW for assignment submission and electronic course reserves. Check your university email for course-related messages. Use an online backup or cloud storage service such as Dropbox to not only save but also archive versions of your work in case of personal computer calamities.


Because this liberal arts course values contemporaneous discussion over fixed lecture, regular attendance is required. Any student who misses seven or more classes for any reason (excused or unexcused) will automatically fail the course. There will be a one letter final grade deduction for every unexcused absence beyond three. I suggest you use your three days both cautiously and wisely; and make sure you sign the attendance sheets. Habitual tardies, consistently leaving class early, texting, and surfing the internet will be treated as absences. Unexcused absences include work, family obligations, and scheduled doctor's appointments. Excused absences include family emergency, medical emergency, religious observance, and participation in a college-sponsored activity. If you have a medical condition or an extracurricular activity that you anticipate will cause you to miss more than four days of class, I suggest you drop this section or risk failure. You can check your attendance online. A note about religious observances: Students are permitted to miss class in observance of religious holidays and other activities observed by a religious group of which the student is a member without academic penalty. Exercising of one's rights under this policy is subject to the GC Honor Code. Students who miss class in observance of a religious holiday or event are required to make up the coursework missed as a result from the absence. The nature of the make-up assignments and the deadline for completion of such assignments are at the sole discretion of the instructor. Failure to follow the prescribed procedures voids all student rights under this policy. The full religious observance policy can be found here. The university class attendance policy can be found here.

MLA Style and Length Requirements

Part of writing in a discipline is adhering to the field's style guide. While other disciplines use APA or Chicago style, literature and composition follows MLA style. In-class exams, discussion board responses, informal/journal writing, and peer review may be informally formatted; however, formal assignments and take-home exams must employ MLA style. One-third of a letter grade will be deducted from a formal paper or take-home exam for problems in each of the following three categories, for a possible one letter grade deduction total: 1) margins, header, and heading, 2) font, font size, and line-spacing, and 3) quotation and citation format. A formal paper or take-home exam will be penalized one-third of a letter grade if it does not end at least halfway down on the minimum page length (not including Works Cited page)while implementing 12 pt Times New Roman font, double-spacing, and 1" margins. Each additional page short of the minimum requirement will result in an a additional one-third letter grade penalty. It is your responsibility to learn how to control your word-processing program. Before you turn in a formal paper, make sure your work follows MLA style by referring to the FAQ handout and using the MLA style checklist. I encourage students to use my templates that are preformatted to MLA style.

Late Assignments

We're all busy with multiple classes and commitments, and adhering to deadlines is critical for the smooth running of the course. There will be a one letter assignment grade deduction per day (not class period) for any assignment that is turned in late. I give short extensions if you request one for a valid need at least one day before the assignment is due. I will inform you via email if I cannot open an electronically submitted assignment; however, your assignment will be considered late until you submit it in a file I can open. Because your completion of this course's major learning outcomes depends on the completion of pertinent assignments, failing to submit an assignment that is worth 15% or more of the course grade within a five days of its due date will result in automatic failure of the course. Failing to submit a final exam or final paper within two days of its due date will result in automatic failure of the course.

Academic Honesty

The integrity of students and their written and oral work is a critical component of the academic process. The Honor Code defines plagiarism as "presenting as one's own work the words or ideas of an author or fellow student. Students should document quotes through quotation marks and footnotes or other accepted citation methods. Ignorance of these rules concerning plagiarism is not an excuse. When in doubt, students should seek clarification from the professor who made the assignment." The submission of another's work as one's own is plagiarism and will be dealt with using the procedures outlined in the Undergraduate Catalog. Allowing another student to copy one’s own work is considered cheating; and submitting the same paper in two classes (recycling or double-dipping) is dishonest. As plagiarism is not tolerated at GCSU, any student found guilty of substantial, willful plagiarism or dishonesty will fail the assignment and the course. Here is how I have dealt with plagiarists in the past. This course uses plagiarism prevention technology from TurnItIn. The papers may be retained by the service for the sole purpose of checking for plagiarized content in future student submissions.

Passing or Failing of the Course

There are three ways to fail the course: 1) failing to regularly attend class, 2) plagiarizing, 3) failing an assignment that is worth 15% or more of the course grade, be it from poor quality, lateness of submission, or a combination of poor quality and lateness. By contrast, students who regularly attend class, complete their work with academic integrity, and submit assignments on time will pass the course.

Assistance for Student Needs Related to Disability

If you have a disability as described by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, you may be eligible to receive accommodations to assist in programmatic and physical accessibility.  Disability Services, a unit of the GCSU Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, can assist you in formulating a reasonable accommodation plan and in providing support in developing appropriate accommodations to ensure equal access to all GCSU programs and facilities. Course requirements will not be waived, but accommodations may assist you in meeting the requirements.  For documentation requirements and for additional information, we recommend that you contact Disability Services located in Lanier Hall at 478-445-5931 or 478-445-4233.

The Writing Center

The Writing Center is a free service available to all members of the university community. Consultants assist writers in the writing process, from conception and organization of compositions to revision to documentation of research. Located in Library 228, the Center is open Monday through Friday. Call 445-3370 or email for more information.

Fire Drills

Fire drills will be conducted annually. In the event of a fire alarm, students will exit the building in a quick and orderly manner through the nearest hallway exit. Learn the floor plan and exits of the building. Do not use elevators. If you encounter heavy smoke, crawl on the floor so as to gain fresh air. Assist disabled persons and others if possible without endangering your own life. Assemble for a head count on the front lawn of main campus or other designated assembly area. For more information on other emergencies, click here.

Student Opinion Surveys

Given the technological sophistication of Georgia College students, the student opinion survey is being delivered through an online process. Your constructive feedback plays an indispensable role in shaping quality education at Georgia College. All responses are completely confidential and your name is not stored with your responses in any way. In addition, instructors will not see any results of the opinion survey until after final grades are submitted to the University. An invitation to complete the online opinion survey is distributed to students near the end of the semester. Your participation in this very important process is greatly appreciated.


Course Schedule


All readings are in the course packet. Short films are available for free through the links. Most feature length films are available through streaming subscription services linked from Can I Stream It?. This schedule is subject to change, so check back in class and online for possible revisions.


Week 1
M, 8-19

A Trip to the Moon (Méliès, 1902, 12min, science fiction & fantasy)

Film Analysis

In Class Activity: Film Analysis

W, 8-21

Psychoanalytic Film Theory

Tyson, "Psychoanalytic Criticism"

Allen, "Psychoanalytic Film Theory"

Week 2
M, 8-26

Freud, "Repression," "The Unconscious," "Mourning and Melancholia," "Negation," "The Structure of the Unconscious," "The Instincts," "The Theory of Dreams," "The Oedipus Complex," "The Origins of Culture"

Un Chien Andalou (Buñuel, 1929, 16 min, surrealism)

In Class Activity: Psychoanalysis and Surrealism

W, 8-28

Lacan, "The Insistence of the Letter in the Unconscious" and "The Mirror Stage"

Recommended: Evans, "The Imaginary," "The Symbolic," "The Real," "objet (petit) a," and "desire"

Copy Shop (Widrich, 2001, 12 min)

Week 3
M, 9-2

No Class: Labor Day Holiday

W, 9-4

Heath, "Cinema and Psychoanalysis: Parallel Histories"

Altman, "Psychoanalysis and Cinema: The Imaginary Discourse"

Cashback (Ellis, 2006, 17 min)

Week 4
M, 9-9

Penley, "The Avant-Garde and the Imaginary"

Film (Schneider, 1964, 17 min)

W, 9-11

Metz, "Story/Discourse (A Note on Two Kinds of Voyeurism)"

Hotel Chevalier (Anderson, 2007, 13 min)

Week 5
M, 9-16

Baudry, "Ideological Effects of the Basic Cinematographic Apparatus"

Metz, "The Imaginary Signifier"

W, 9-18

The 400 Blows (Truffaut, 1959, 99 min, French New Wave)


Week 6

M, 9-23

Doane, "The Voice in the Cinema: The Articulation of Body and Space"

Johnson, "Perverse Angle: Feminist Film, Queer Film, Shame"

W, 9-25

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Chbosky, 2012, 102 min, teen romance)

Week 7
M, 9-30

Indick, "Analyzing the Movie Dream"

Fuery, "The Limits of Knowledge"

The Psychology of Dream Analysis (Johnson, 2002, 10 min)

W, 10-2

eXistenZ (Cronenberg, 1999, 97 min, science fiction)

Theoretical Paper Due

Week 8
M, 10-7

Creed, "Film and the Uncanny Gaze" and "Horror and the Monstrous Feminine"

W, 10-9

Hoile, "The Uncanny and the Fairy Tale in Kubrick's The Shining"

Sen, "Articulation of Repression in Stanley Kubrick's Films"

The Shining (Kubrick, 1980, 146 min, horror)

Week 9
M, 10-14

No Class: Fall Break

W, 10-16

Mulvey, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema"

Studlar, "Masochism and the Perverse Pleasures of the Cinema"

Week 10
M, 10-21

Mulholland Dr. (Lynch, 2001, 147 min, neo-noir)

W, 10-23

The Pervert's Guide to Cinema (Fiennes, 2006, 150 min, documentary)

***Screening M and T, 10-21 and 10-22 from 5:00-7:30PM in A&S 353

Week 11
M, 10-28

McGowan, "Looking for the Gaze: Lacanian Film Theory and Its Vicissitudes"

Žižek, "The Hitchcockian Blot"

W, 10-30

Rear Window (Hitchcock, 1954, 112 min, thriller)

Week 12
M, 11-4

Kaplan, "Spider-Man in Love: A Psychoanalytic Interpretation"

Peaslee, "'With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility': Central Psychoanalytic Motifs in Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2"

Spider-Man (Raimi, 2002, 121 min, superhero comic book)

W, 11-6

Lebeau, "Daddy's Cinema: Femininity and Mass Spectatorship"

Lebeau, "Femininity, Fantasy, and the Collective"

Week 13
M, 11-11

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Hughes, 1986, 106 min, teen dramedy)

W, 11-13

De Lauretis, "Desire in Narrative"

Doane, "Film and Masquerade: Theorizing the Female Spectator"

Week 14
M, 11-18

Ginger & Rosa (Potter, 2012, 90 min, drama)

W, 11-20

Undergraduate Research Paper Due

Graduate Book Review Due

Week 15
M, 11-25

The Master (Anderson, 2012, 144 min, drama)

***Screening W and R, 11-20 and 11-21, from 5:00-7:30PM in A&S 353

Graduate Research Paper Abstract Due

W, 11-27

No Class: Thanksgiving Holidays

Week 16
M, 12-2

Undergraduate Exam Topics

Graduate Research Panel

W, 12-4

Silver Linings Playbook (Russell, 2012, 122 min, romantic comedy)

R, 12-12

Undergraduate Final Exam Due

Graduate Research Paper Due