Literary Theory: An Introduction
Literary theory has changed the way we think about literature, language, identity, and society. Although theory might sometimes seem intimidating, it can be very accessible and exciting. This course aims to demystify literary theory, showing how it illuminates literary texts and enriches our understanding and enjoyment of literature.
Over the course of the twentieth century, modern literary theory has transformed the field of English studies. It has also changed the way we read literature, and how we understand language, identity, and society. Despite its enormous influence, literary theory can seem overly abstract, complex, and intimidating to readers and critics. This course aims to demystify some key ideas and debates in modern literary theory, and to show exactly how these exciting ideas enhance our understanding and enjoyment of fiction and poetry. This course is for anyone who would like to know what terms such as deconstruction, Marxist criticism, and postcolonialism really mean, and for those who are curious about the relationships between history, politics, philosophy, and literature. This course is also aimed at anyone interested in honing their critical reading skills, and most importantly, anyone who enjoys reading and would like to learn even more about literature.
This course will enable participants to:
- Understand the historical development of literary theory and its role in English studies;
- Understand and discuss relationships between different theories and critical schools;
- Understand and discuss some key ideas of particular theories and schools;
- Understand extracts from works by selected theorists and critics;
- Understand the practical applications of literary theory;
- Apply literary theory themselves in analysing prose and poetry.
Introductory section; reading required and recommended; handouts; online forum; online personal reading diary; posted short responses to literary extracts and exercises; tutor responses to forum and exercises; assessment and feedback.
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