Spring 2013 - Graduate Course Description
Gu, Ming
Discipline and Number
HUSL 6315 Section 001
R Time 4:00 PM - 6:45 PM
Course Title
Literary Theory: Foundations

Description of Course:

This is an introduction to the foundations of literary theory. It is intended for graduate students majoring in arts and humanities in general and in literary studies in particular. Designed as a selective survey rather than an in-depth treatment of a particular theorist, a historical period, a movement or a school, it starts from Plato and Aristotle who laid the foundations for Western critical theory, continues from classical and neo-classical theories through romantic and idealistic theories to aesthetic and humanistic theories, and then focuses on modern critical and cultural theories. The word “foundation” indicates that prominence will be given to the theoretical works of thinkers who have exerted the most profound shaping influence on literary theory. It therefore will not cover more recent developments. Although the course objective is to acquaint students with the foundational ideas of literary theory and criticism, the major aim is to help them develop and strengthen their conceptual grounding in literary criticism and cultural studies. As an introductory course, a special emphasis will be laid on understanding the chosen texts in the larger context of critical theory. No prior knowledge of critical theory is required.

Required Texts:

• Vincent B. Leitch et al, eds., The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, 2nd edition (New York: Norton, 2010).
• Some handouts

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

1. Summaries/Reviews 10%
2. Presentations 10%
3. Preliminary proposal at midterm 10%
4. Attendance and Participation in discussion 10%
5. Term paper (18-20 pages) 60%
Total: 100%

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