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English 113MI: Class 1 (Jan. 7) — Introduction

  • Course enrollment policy: Attendance will be taken of registered students and of students on the course wait list.  A sign-up sheet will be passed out for other students wishing to take the course.  Students must come to first three class meetings to hold their place in the course.


1. The Formalist Heritage


Class 2 (Jan. 9) — Background: The Defense of Literature


Class 3 (Jan. 14) — New Criticism (1): Major Statements

  • Archibald MacLeish, "Ars Poetica" (1926)
  • John Crowe Ransom, from "Wanted: An Ontological Critic" [PDF] (pp. 279-316 only) from his New Criticism (1941)
  • Cleanth Brooks, "The Heresy of Paraphrase" [PDF] from his The Well Wrought Urn (1947)
  • Special Early Assignment: Because so many of the readings in this course are online, students are required by this class to demonstrate that they have the means to annotate and save copies of online materials according to one of the methods described here.  Bring to class on your laptop or other digital device at least one copy of an assigned reading that you have highlighted or otherwise annotated in some way.  (If you do not own a laptop, tablet, or other digital device, then bring a printed copy of one assigned reading.)


Class 4 (Jan. 16) — New Criticism (2): Major Statements


Class 5 (Jan. 21) — New Criticism (3): Practical Examples


Class 6 (Jan. 23) — New Criticism (4): The Cultural Background


Class 7 (Jan. 28) — Russian Formalism (1)

  • Early Representative Statement:
    • Victor Shklovsky, "Art as Technique" (1917)
      (in required book: Lemon & Reis, ed., Russian Formalist Criticism)
  • Attack, Defense, Retrospect:
    • Boris Eichenbaum, "The Theory of the 'Formal Method'" (1926)
      (in required book: Lemon & Reis, ed., Russian Formalist Criticism)


Class 8 (Jan. 30) — Russian Formalism (2)

  • Boris Tomashevsky, from "Thematics" (1925): read only pp. 66-87, 92-95
    (in required book: Lemon & Reis, ed., Russian Formalist Criticism)
Assignment Due   4-page paper due (see Assignments) 



2. From Formalism to Poststructuralism


Class 9 (Feb. 4) — Structuralism (1): The Language Paradigm


Class 10 (Feb. 6) — Structuralism (2): The Anthropological Paradigm

  • Claude Lévi-Strauss, from Savage Mind (1962):
    • "The Science of the Concrete" [PDF 1]: read only pp. 1-14 of PDF 1 (up until "The problem of art has been touched on several times . . .")
    • "The Logic of Totemic Classification" [PDF 2]: read only pp. 23-44 of PDF 2 (pp. 35- 74 in original book's pagination) --Note: read this chapter for the main idea; you can skim parts of it.  PDF 1 is a different, poorer scan of Lévi-Strauss than PDF 1 above.
    • Diagram of "the totemic operator" from "Categories, Elements, Species, Numbers," p. 86 of PDF 2 (p. 152 in original book's pagination): look at this diagram and read its explanation in the text.


Class 11 (Feb. 11) — [No Class]


Class 12 (Feb. 13) — Structuralism into Deconstruction

  • Honoré de Balzac, "Sarrasine" (1830), in required book: Roland Barthes, S/Z, pp. 221-54
  • Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970) -- Note: the reading assignment for S/Z, the major text for this class, is open-ended.  The book is probably too long for you to finish.  Read at least pp. 3-33 plus as much of it as you wish to (no one is expected to finish)



Class 14 (Feb. 20) — Deconstruction (2): Derrida

  • Jacques Derrida, "The End of the Book and the Beginning of Writing" (1967), from his Of Grammatology [PDF]: pp. 77-94 of this PDF (pp. 6-26 in original book's pagination)


Class 15 (Feb. 25) — Deconstruction (3): Paul de Man and "The Yale School"


Class 16 (Feb. 27) — Poststructuralism and Feminist Theory



2. After Poststructuralism

    (Focusing on Cultural Criticism)


Class 17 (Mar. 4) — Foucault (1)

  • Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization (1961), pp. ix-116, 198, 241-89 (required book)


Class 18 (Mar. 6) — Foucault (2)

  • Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization (continued)
  • Michel Foucault, "What is an Author?" [PDF] (1969)
  • Michel Foucault, "Preface" from The Order of Things (1966) [PDF]


Class 19 (Mar. 11) — Cultural Anthropology & New Historicism


Class 20 (Mar. 13) — Literary Theory Today and the Digital Age

Assignment Due   8 page paper due on March 14th (see Assignments, Examples of possible topics)

































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