Spring 2011 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Gu, Ming
Discipline and Number
HUSL 7372 Section 001
M Time 9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Course Title
Psychoanalysis & Literature

Description of Course:


Literary criticism and cultural theory always rest on a psychology. This course is an introduction to psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic criticism. As it is impossible to deal with either aspect adequately in a semester, this course will focus on psychoanalytic theories that have exerted a shaping influence on literary and cultural theories and on works of psychoanalytic criticism that have stood the test of time. The overall aim is to enable students to acquire a basic knowledge of psychoanalytic theory so as to understand contemporary literary and cultural theories and to find their own approaches to research materials in their own fields. It consists of two related parts. Part 1 will give a substantial introduction to classical psychoanalytic theory, formulated by Freud and developed by Jung as well as representative works of psychoanalytic criticism. Part 2 mainly deals with Lacanian psychoanalytic theory and its impact on contemporary theory and criticism. To relate psychoanalytic theory more meaningfully to contemporary literary and cultural studies, we will take Lacan’s cue from his call for a “return to Freud” via linguistics and read some linguistic works by Saussure, Barthes, and Jokobson so as to have a better understanding of how Lacanian psychoanalysis integrates Freudian theory with Saussurean linguistics to open up new avenues to literary and cultural studies. The course will also read chosen literary works in relation to psychoanalytic criticism. As an introductory course, the emphasis will be laid on adequate understanding of chosen texts in the larger context of critical theory and literary criticism. No prior knowledge of psychoanalysis is required.

Required Texts:

1) Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams (New York: Avon, 1965).
2) Peter Gay, ed., The Freud Reader (New York: Norton, 1995).
3) C. G. Jung, Four Archetypes (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1959).
4) Jacques Lacan, Écrits: A Selection (New York: Norton, 1977).
5) Jacques Lacan and the école Freudienne, Feminine Sexuality (New York, Norton, 1985).
6) Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays. (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1957).
7) Norman Holland, The Dynamics of Literary Response (New York: Norton, 1975)
8) Harold Bloom, The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry (Oxford University Press 1997).
9) Some handouts and supplementary readings.

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

All students are required to attend class regularly, actively participate in classroom discussions, hand in summaries/reviews of assigned reading, give presentations on assigned materials, and write a final paper. The term paper may focus on an aspect of psychoanalysis, a psychoanalytic approach to criticism, or the application of psychoanalytic approaches to his or her own field of learning. Midway through the course, each student needs to turn in an proposal for the final paper (2 pages) outlining the initial ideas, approaches and research materials for the final paper. The grading is based on the following:
1. Summaries/Reviews 10%
2. Presentations 10%
3. Preliminary proposal at midterm 5%
4. Attendance and Participation in discussion 15%
5. Term paper (18-20 pages) 60%
Total: 100%

© The University of Texas at Dallas School of Arts and Humanities.
No part of this website can be copied or reproduced without permisssion.