A selection of major theoretical statements in the history of literary theory and criticism, with texts drawn from such fields as literary studies, aesthetic theory, film studies, philosophy, and cultural studies.
This course offers a survey of some of the major texts in the history of criticism and theory (philosophy) in the West. No prior knowledge of theory is required, but be prepared to read challenging texts at a fast pace. Each session focuses on one important author or theme relevant to the study of literature and the arts. We will start with the Ancients (Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Longinus), meander through French 17th century critics, 18th century theories of genius, taste and the sublime, Romantic irony, and tackle the great modern philosophers: Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, as well as psychologists such as Freud and Jung. Special emphasis will be placed toward the end on 20th century French theorists: Saussure, Barthes, Derrida.
Readings will be selected from Hazard Adams's Critical Theory Since Plato.