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Topic 16: Literary theory

  1. The concept of mimesis: what is imitated by the literary text? Is literature imitation or creation? Aristotle's The Poetics and some Romantic views.
  2. Structuralism and semiotics. The significance of Ferdinand the Saussure. The critical evaluation of a significant representative of structuralism or semiotics (e.g., Roman Jacobson or Keir Elam).
  3. New Criticism: a brief overview and the critical evaluation of the work of a significant representative (e.g., Cleanth Brooks).
  4. Deconstruction: the significance of Derrida's influence. Paul de Man and deconstruction.
  5. Psychoanalysis and literary criticism: Freud, Lacan and their legacy. The critical evaluation of literary critic using the psychoanalytical approach (e.g., Janet Adelman).
  6. Hermeneutics and the interpretation of texts: a brief overview and the critical evaluation of an important representative (e.g., Paul Ricoeur).
  7. Feminist criticism. A brief overview and the critical evaluation of a significant representative (e.g., Lisa Jardine).
  8. New historicism in the United States and cultural materialism in Britain. The critical evaluation of a significant representative (e.g., Stephen Greenblatt or Jonathan Dollimore).
  9. Race and gender in contemporary literary criticism. The critical evaluation of a theorist addressing some relevant questions (e.g., Alan Sinfield or Ania Loomba).
  10. Reader-response criticism. The critical evaluation of a significant representative (e.g., Wolfgang Iser).
  11. Some problems of the theory of dramatic genres (tragedy, comedy, etc.)
  12. Some problems of the theory of poetry (the ambiguity of the term "poetry", lyrical poetry and its genres, etc.)
  13. Some problems of the theory of narrative genres (short and long fiction, the difference between "story" and "discourse", etc.)

Suggested Reading


last edited on Tue Dec 31 23:00:00 CET 2002, by peter.szigetvari@elte.hu