English 456: C20 Criticism and Theory

Syllabus Page for Spring 2002

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Course Policies (Please review this information.)

General Guides: Marx on Commodities | Romantic Backgrounds | Romantic Generalizations | Romantic Topics | Freud and Death Drive | Modernism | Annotated Bibliography | de Man on Modernism | Irony | Faludi's Backlash | Feminist Timeline | Marx on Art | Nietzsche and Greeks | Performatives | Grammar Guide

Author Guides: Frye | Brooks | Barthes | Nietzsche | Derrida | de Man | Foucault | Williams | Said | Viswanathan | Freud | Lacan | de Beauvoir | Cixous | Butler

Study Questions: Barthes | Brooks | Butler | Cixous | de Beauvoir | de Man | de Saussure | Derrida | Foucault | Freud | Kant | Lacan | Marx | Nietzsche | Said | Viswanathan | Williams

Schedule:

Week 5 (Feb. 28): Lecture/discussion on T.S. Eliot's "Tradition and the Individual Talent" (LC 33-38) and Northrop Frye's "The Function of Criticism at the Present Time" (LC 39-49).

Week 6 (March 7): Lecture/discussion on Kant's "Analytic of the Beautiful" (CTSP 376-86), brief excerpts from Wordsworth's "Preface to Lyrical Ballads" (course web e-text, to be posted by Monday, March 4), and New Critic Cleanth Brooks' essays "The Heresy of Paraphrase" and "Irony as a Principle of Structure" (CTSP 960-74).

Week 7 (March 14): Lecture/discussion on Course in General Linguistics selection by Ferdinand de Saussure (LC 265-79), and on the following selections by Roland Barthes—"The Structuralist Activity" and "The Death of the Author" (CTSP 1127-33); "What is Criticism?" (LC 280-83); and "The World of Wrestling" (Mythologies 15-25; on library reserve in the English 456 packet along with the CTSP selections.)

Week 8 (March 21): Lecture/discussion on Friedrich Nietzsche's "Truth and Falsity in an Ultramoral Sense" (CTSP 628 intro, 634-39) and Jacques Derrida's "Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences." (CTSP1116-26)

Week 9 (March 28): Spring Break holiday, otherwise known as "Introduction to Critical Surf Theory." However, please read Paul de Man's "The Resistance to Theory" (CL 100-14) and study for the mid-term exam.

Week 10 (April 4): Mid-term in-class exam of 1 1/2 hours. Lecture/discussion on Paul de Man's "The Resistance to Theory." Midterm Exam for Reference

Week 11 (April 11): Lecture/discussion on Michel Foucault's "What is an Author?" (CL 364-76) and "Truth and Power" (CTSP 1134-45).

Week 12 (April 18): Lecture/discussion on Karl Marx's selections from The German Ideology and Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (CTSP 624-27) and Raymond Williams' "Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory" (LC 489-501). Here is an Annotated Bibliography Sample for the Term Paper.

Week 13 (April 25): Lecture/discussion on excerpts from Victorian critic Matthew Arnold's "The Function of Criticism at the Present Time" (course web as e-text), Edward Said's "The World, the Text, and the Critic" (CTSP 1210-22), Gauri Viswanathan's "Lessons of History" (LC 68-86). I suggest, but do not require, that you give me a rough draft of the paper this week. If you do, I will return it to you next week.

Week 14 (May 2): Lecture/discussion on Sigmund Freud's "Creative Writers and Daydreaming" (CTSP 711-16) and Jacques Lacan's "The Mirror Stage." (LC 404-09).

Week 15 (May 9): Lecture/discussion on selection from Chapter 11 of Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex (CTSP 993-1000), Hélène Cixous' "The Laugh of the Medusa" (CTS 1965, course packet), and Judith Butler's "Variations on Sex and Gender" (LC 611-23). Papers due at beginning of class—this due date will leave you the last week to prepare for the final exam rather than having to do two tasks at once.

Final Exam (Thursday, May 16, 4:15-6:45): I plan to make the final exam an in-class one, but you may bring your books and notes. (But be careful not to rely too much on them—one seldom has as much time as one wants to consult books and notes during an exam!) Final Exam for Reference.