In this course we will read crucial texts from the literary and critical theory tradition. Through representative essays, the course will offer a systematic exploration of the major theoretical approaches to literature, from formalism and structuralism, through psychoanalysis, Marxism, post-structuralism, feminism, and post-colonialism.
We will examine the philosophical arguments used to establish these texts as central to the Western cultural tradition. We will read and discuss some of the critiques of the theory canon as well as the contemporary (“theoretical”) rejection of theory as a discipline. We will note the cultural and historical backgrounds of the emergent theory tradition and its primary texts.