English 491-75: Interpretive Theory: The New Criticism to the
Spring 2005, MW: 7:00-8:15PM, Bingham Humanities Bldg 103
Starting with the New Criticism, literary interpretation took on a level of
analysis beyond simply discussing the author's intent. New Criticism formalized
and codified interpretation, and the movements that came after it further systematized
such methods, with an additional self-conscious understanding of the critic's
position with regard to the text. At the beginning of the new century, not
only does the critic interpret literature, but she also theorizes the acts
of reading, writing, and (making) meaning. This course surveys the transformation
from criticism to theory as it introduces various methods of interpretation
from the twentieth century, including the New Criticism, Marxist criticism,
psychoanalytic criticism, structuralism and semiotics, and poststructuralism
and deconstruction. For each theory, we will read and discuss 1) an overview
of the method in Critical
2) a number of theoretical articles in The Norton Anthology of Theory
and 3) exemplary criticism on The Awakening, The Great
Gatsby, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Hamlet.
Assignments include two article summaries with accompanying presentations and
three take-home exams which review and debate the theories as well as apply the
theories to works of literature not covered in the course. Note that this course
is graded on a plus and minus grade scale and its prerequisites include both
English 102/105 and English 310.
required (UofL Bookstore)
Chopin, The Awakening (Bedford/St. Martin's
Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Bedford/St.
Leitch, ed. et al, The Norton Anthology
of Theory and Criticism
Shakespeare, Hamlet (Bedford/St. Martin's
Tyson, Critical Theory Today
Moody, "Ineluctable Modality of the Vaginal"
articles on Chopin, Fitzgerald, Joyce, and Shakespeare
Assignments and Grade Distribution
two article summaries and presentations, 5% each
summarize on Blackboard and then present to the class two essays, one theoretical and
three take-home exams, 20%, 30%, and 40%, sequentially
You will take three take-home essay
will require you to review,
debate, and apply the five theoretical methodologies.
We're going to be working with challenging works
of critical theory; therefore, we'll all benefit from sharing our questions
and ideas. If I feel that the majority of the class isn't participating because
they're not keeping up with the reading, I reserve the right to give pop quizzes
and reweight the other assignments accordingly.
Office Hours and Instructor Email
I encourage you to stop by my office hours to discuss
any aspect of the course, literature, or life. I'm happy to answer small questions
such as due dates over email, but I prefer face-to-face conversations for more
substantive topics like papers and exams. I do not regularly check my email
on weekends, and I do not use Blackboard's messages feature.
Blackboard and University Email
We will be using Blackboard and Netmail for
class communication and assignments. Have your university email forwarded to
your private email or vice versa. You can review the Blackboard student manual
and student login instructions for Blackboard and Netmail at Blackboard
@ UofL as well as my Blackboard Basics.
There will be a one letter final grade deduction
for every absence beyond four days. Therefore, missing five class periods will
result in a one letter final grade deduction and missing eight classes will
result in automatic failure of the course. Habitual tardies and leaving class
early will be treated as absences.
There will be a one letter assignment grade deduction
per day, not class period, for any assignment that is turned in late. Failing
to turn in an assignment that is worth 15% or more of the course grade within
five days, not class periods, of its due date will result in automatic failure
of the course.
Don't do it. Using someone else's words, ideas,
or work without proper citation and representing it as your own is the most
serious of academic offenses. See the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities,
Sections 5 and 6 on page 17 of the 2004-2006 Undergraduate Catalog for further
information. Proven plagiarism can result in a failing grade for the assignment
or the course and will be reported to the College of Arts & Sciences for
further action, which can include notice in the permanent record, dismissal,
Failure 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.
Disabilities Resource Center
If you have any specific needs or concerns, please
feel free to discuss the issue with me outside of class. Contact the Disabilities
Resource Center (Robbins Hall, 852-6938) for information and auxiliary
Center (Ekstrom Library, Room 312, 852-2173) provides drop-in assistance
for planning, drafting, revising, and editing papers.
This schedule is subject to change, so listen in class and check online for possible revisions.
Overview: Tyson, "Everything You Wanted to Know about Critical
Tyson, "New Criticism" (117-52)
Theory: Eliot, "Tradition and the Individual Talent"
"The Metaphysical Poets" (Leitch 1088-1104)
Criticism: Tyson on Fitzgerald, "The 'deathless song' of Longing" (Tyson
For Fun: Moody, "Ineluctable Modality of the Vaginal" (online)
No Class: Martin Luther King Day
Theory: Brooks, "The Heresy of Paraphrase"
"The Formalist Critics" (Leitch 1350-70)
Theory: Ransom, "Criticism, Inc." (Leitch
Wimsatt and Beardsley, "The Intentional
"The Affective Fallacy" (Leitch 1371-1402)
Overview: Tyson, Ch3 "Marxist Criticism" (Tyson 49-80)
Theory: Trotsky, from Literature and Revolution (Leitch
Criticism: Tyson on Fitgerald, "You Are What You Own" (Tyson
||Theory: Lukács, "Realism in the Balance" (Leitch
Theory: Horkheimer and Adorno, from Dialectic
of Enlightenment (Leitch 1220-40)
Criticism: Rowe on Chopin, "The Economics of the Body
in...The Awakening" (online)
Theory: Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the
Age of Mechanical Reproduction" (Leitch 1163-86)
Criticism: Naremore on Joyce, "Consciousness and Society in A
Portrait of the Artist" (online)
Theory: Althusser, "A Letter on Art in Reply
to André Daspre"
from "Ideology and Ideological State
Apparatuses" (Leitch 1476-1509)
Gramsci, "The Formation of the Intellectuals" (Leitch
Criticism: Bristol on Shakespeare, "Carnival and the Carnivalesque
in Hamlet" (332-67)
Theory: Jameson, from "The Political Unconscious"
"Postmodernism and Consumer Society" (Leitch
Overview: Tyson, "Psychoanalytic Criticism" (Tyson
Theory: Freud, from The Interpretation of Dreams
"Fetishism" (Leitch 913-55)
Criticism: Tyson on Fitzgerald, "What's Love Got
to Do with It?" (Tyson 34-44)
Exam 1 Due
Theory: Jung, "On the Relation of Analytical Psychology
to Poetry" (987-1002)
Bloom, Introduction, The Anxiety of Influence (Leitch
Criticism: McGowan on Chopin, "The Awakening of Desire"
Theory: Lacan, "The Mirror Stage"
from "The Agency of the Letter in the
"The Signification of the Phallus" (Leitch
Theory: Kristeva, from Revolution in Poetic Language (Leitch
Criticism: Brivic on Joyce, "The Disjunctive Structure of
Joyce's Portrait" (Joyce 235-67)
Theory: Deleuze and Guattari, from Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature
from A Thousand Plateaus:
Capitalism and Schizophrenia (Leitch 1593-1608)
Criticism: Adelman on Shakespeare, "Hamlet and
the Confrontation with the Maternal Body" (241-82)
Theory: Mulvey, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative
Cinema" (Leitch 2179-92)
Structuralism and Semiotics
Overview: Tyson, "Structuralist Criticism" (Tyson 197-240)
Theory: Saussure, from Course in General Linguistics (Leitch
Criticism: Tyson on Fitzgerald, "'Seek and Ye Shall
Find'" (Tyson 226-37)
||No Class: Spring Break
||No Class: Spring Break
Theory: Jakobson, from "Linguistics and Poetics"
from "Two Aspects of Language and . .
. Aphasic Disturbances" (Leitch 1254-68)
Lévi-Strauss, "A Writing Lesson" (Leitch
Criticism: Mathews on Chopin, "Fashioning the Hybrid Woman"
Theory: Frye, "The Archetypes of Literature" (Leitch
Todorov, "Structural Analysis of Narrative" (Leitch
Criticism: Mitchell on Joyce, "A Portrait and the Bildungsroman Tradition"
Theory: Barthes, from Mythologies
"The Death of the Author"
"From Work to Text" (Leitch 1457-1475)
Criticism: Ferguson on Shakespeare, "Hamlet: Letters
and Spirits" (online)
Poststructuralism and Deconstruction
Overview: Tyson, "Deconstructive Criticism" (Tyson
Criticism: Tyson on Fitzgerald, "the thrilling,
returning trains of my youth" (Tyson 261-74)
Exam 2 Due
Theory: Foucault, "What Is an Author?"
from Discipline and Punish: The Birth
of the Prison
from The History of Sexuality, Volume
1, An Introduction
from "Truth and Power" (Leitch 1615-70)
Theory: Butler, from Gender Trouble (Leitch
Criticism: Yaeger on Chopin, "'A Language Which Nobody Understood'"
No Class: Instructor out of Town
Theory: de Man, "Semiology and Rhetoric"
"The Return to Philology" (Leitch 1509-31)
Criticism: Herr on Joyce, "Deconstructing Dedalus" (Joyce
Garber on Shakespeare, "Hamlet: Giving Up the Ghost"
Theory: Derrida, from Of Grammatology
from Dissemination (Leitch 1815-76)
Theory: Derrida, continued
Roundtable of Final Exam Criticism Topics
Theory: Baudrillard, from "The Precession of
Simulacra" (Leitch 1729-40)
Cixous, "The Laugh of the Medusa"
Tyson, Ch12 "Gaining an Overview" (Tyson 423-31)
||Exam 3 Due by 8:30PM