Gateway course designed for English pre-majors and majors. Introduces critical, historical, and theoretical frameworks important to studying the literature, language, and cultures of English. Concurrent registration with ENGL 197 required.
For AUTUMN 2007: This course will address the historical, cultural, and critical contexts of literature and literary study by pursuing the following questions: What distinguishes literary from other forms of writing and how are contemporary understandings of literature and authorship linked to the rise of capitalism and nationalism, to the development of new print technologies, and to modern concepts of ”civilization” and “humanity” forged within the contexts of imperialism and colonialism? Thus one concentration of this course will be on the emergence of something called “literature” from within the wider frameworks of modernity. Equally important, we will ask how the establishment of literary study within the modern university, especially the creation of “English” departments and curricula, has shaped the understanding and reception of literature. In this regard, we will consider some of the primary critical approaches that have organized academic literary study: New Criticism, psychoanalysis, post-structuralism, Marxism, as well as some of their most significant intersections and overlays within feminist, Marxist, and postcolonial literary studies. The syllabus remains under construction, but inclusion of the following critical materials is possible: short selections from Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, Marx, The German Ideology, Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Luce Irigaray, This Sex that is Not One, Terry Eagleton, Literary Theory, Gayatri Spivak, The Postcolonial Critic. Texts: Ama Ata Aidoo, Our Sister Killjoy; Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities; Catherine Belsey, Critical Practice; Hannah Foster, The Coquette; Henry James, The Turn of the Screw.
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