ENGLISH 635: LITERARY THEORY AND CRITICISM SPRING 2010
COURSE POLICIES AND SYLLABUS
Instructor: Jake Jakaitis
Classroom: ROOT A110
Office: RO A-209
Meeting Time: 6:15_9:00 p.m. Tu
Office Telephone: 812-237-3269
Office Hours: 2š4 M & W, 4ð5 Tu, & by appointment
The following syllabus is a tentative schedule and list of readings; I reserve the right to change it to suit our needs. If you miss a class session, please visit the site to remain informed about schedule changes and other updates. In fact, you would do well to visit the site often as I will regularly add links to information about the authors or theoretical perspectives covered in our readings. Some of our assigned readings and handouts will only be available on the web; these will be indicated as blue links at the web site. Supplemental readings will be passed out in class. For Professor’s Pack readings, all page numbers in parentheses refer to original source pagination, giving you a general idea of each assignment's length. You will write a few short response papers and a single seminar paper in this course.
Davis, Garrick and William Logan, eds. Praising It New: The Best of the New Criticism.
Athens, Ohio: Ohio UP, 2008.
DeLillo, Don. Mao II. New York: Penguin, 1991.
Jameson, Fredric. The Political Unconscious. Cornell UP, 1981. 0-8014-9222-x.
Macey, David. Dictionary of Critical Theory. Penguin, 2001. 0-140-51369-8.
Attendance and participation are crucial to success in a graduate seminar. While an occasional absence is sometimes necessary, it is important that missed work because of an excused absence is completed either through conversation with me in conference or through submission of a brief response paper demonstrating knowledge of the assigned readings.
At each class meeting, I will ask for volunteers to write response papers and to create discussion questions on the assigned readings for the next week’s meeting. To some extent, this process was illustrated by the Memorandumdefining the assignment for our initial class meeting. Your task is to produce a response paper that directs attention to the fundamental theoretical positions that sustain the critic’s argument, questions or exposes the critic’s [perhaps] unstated goals and objectives, and/or relates the essay that you have been assigned to prior readings and discussions in the course. See the response paper assignment for more detail. Your response paper contributions to the course will account for 30% of the course grade. While your participation score in the course will be based primarily on your weekly contributions to discussion of assigned readings, your ability to direct discussion of those articles about which you have written response papers will create a more formal opportunities to enhance your course participation. Participation will account for 10% of the course grade
You will submit two papers in the course: an 8-10 page analysis due around week twelve, and a 16-20 page seminar paper due at the semester’s end and worth 60% of the course grade. My method is to ask you to produce roughly ½ of your seminar paper by week twelve, to evaluate your work, suggest improvements and provide direction for the completed seminar paper, and then to return the paper to you for expansion and revision. See the first day handout for more detail on the paper options.
WEEK ONE: JANUARY 12
COURSE INTRODUCTION [HANDOUTS: SEE LINKS UNDER #2 & #3 ABOVE]
Lackey, Michael. "A.S. Byatt's Morpho Eugenia: Prologomena to Any Future Theory." College Literature 35.1 [Winter 2008]:
Womack, Kenneth. "Authorship and the Beatles." College Literature 34.3 (Summer 2007): 161-181.
WEEK TWO: JANUARY 19
THE FUNCTION OF CRITICISM
Response Paper Sign Up
Arnold, Matthew. "The Function of Criticism at the Present Time." from Poetry and Criticism of Matthew Arnold. ed. A.
Dwight Culler. Boston: Houghton Mifflin: 237-279.
Leavis, F.R. and F.W. Bateson. "The Responsible Critic, Or The Function of Criticism at Any Time" ; "The
Responsible Critic: Reply" ; "Rejoinder"  and "Postscript" : 280-316.
Eliot, T.S. "The Function of Criticism" . Selected Prose of T.S. Eliot. ed. Frank Kermode. New York: Harcourt,
Brace, Jovanovich, 1975.
WEEK THREE: JANUARY 26
EXPLORING CRITICAL METHODOLOGY
DeLillo, Don. Mao II. New York: Penguin, 1991.
Moran, Joe. "Don DeLillo and the Myth of the Author-Recluse." Journal of American Studies 34 : 137-152.
Wilcox, Leonard. "Terrorism and Art: Don DeLillo's Mao II and Jean Baudrillard's The Spirit of Terrorism" Mosaic 39.2 [June 2006]: 89-105.
The Don DeLillo Society. Don DeLillo's America.
Read the novel and two critical essays and come to class prepared both to respond to the critics' arguments and to discuss
how you might approach the novel if you were asked to write about it.
WEEK FOUR: FEBRUARY 2
T.S. ELIOT AND THE NEW CRITICISM
Response Paper Sign Up
In Praising It New!: "Forward into the Past: Reading the New Critics" by William Logan [ix-xvi] and "The Golden Age of Poetry and Criticism" by Garrick Davis [xxi-xxviii].
Handout: From T.S. Eliot: Selected Essays 1917-1932. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1950: “Tradition and the Individual Talent” : 3-11; Praising It New!: "The Perfect Critic" [7-15]; "Introduction to The Sacred Wood" [3-6]; "Hamlet and His Problems" [138-142]; & "The Metaphysical Poets" [143-151].
WEEK FIVE: FEBRUARY 9
Cleanth Brooks & The New Critics
Response Paper Sign Up
Cleanth Brooks: "Irony as a Principle of Structure." The Critical Tradition. ed. David Richter. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989: 799-806. Originally published in Literary Opinion in America in 1951; "The Language of Paradox," first published as chapter one of The Well Wrought Urn. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1947: 3-21. Handouts.
In Praising It New!: ; "The Formalist Critics" by Cleanth Brooks [84-91], "Criticism, Inc." by John Crowe Ransom [49-61]; and "Is Literary Criticism Possible?" by Allen Tate [61-71].
WEEK SIX: FEBRUARY 16
The New Criticism and The Chicago School
Handouts from Critics and Criticism: Ancient and Modern. R.S. Crane, ed. Chicago: Chicago UP, 1953:
"Introduction" [1-24] & "The Critical Monism of Cleanth Brooks" [83-107] by R.S. Crane; "A Symbolic Reading of the Ancient
Mariner" [138-144] by Elder Olson; "Episode, Scene, Speech, and Word: The Madness of Lear" [595-615] by Norman Maclean.
[You can find information on the Neo-Aristotelian Chicago School and on Crane & Olson through the Chicago School link]
WEEK SEVEN: FEBRUARY 23
Response Paper Sign Up
In Praising It New: "The Affective Fallacy" [92-102] & "The Intentional Fallacy" [102-116] by W.K. Wimsatt and Monroe C. Beardsley. Both essays were published in 1954 in The Verbal Icon, but were there revised versions of essays published earlier. The versions in Praising It New are the revised versions. Our goals in responding to these two essays are rather straightforward:
How do Wimsatt and Beardsley define the affective fallacy? The intentional fallacy?
How do these definitions sustain the new critical project?
Are these arguments furthered by Barthes, or does Barthes' "Death of the Author" conflict with the positions argued by Wimsatt and Beardsley?
What is the relation of Foucault's position in "What Is an Author?" to Wimsatt and Beardsley's notions of the intentional and affective fallacies?
Handouts: "The Death of the Author" [142-148] by Roland Barthes from Image Music Text. Stephen Heath, Trans. New York: Hill and Wang, 1977. & "What Is an Author?" [365-376] by Michel Foucault from Contemporary Literary Criticism. Robert Con Davis and Ronald Schleifer, eds. New York: Addison, Wesley, Longman, Inc., 1998. Barthes' essay was published in 1968, while Foucault's first appeared in 1969.
Here are some issues to consider while reading the handouts:
Barthes: "The Death of the Author":
What, in your view, does Barthes mean by the "death" of the author? How is this claim an effect of his asking the question, "Who is speaking thus?" That is, what is Barthes trying to provoke us to consider about the relations of text to reader? Text to author? Reader to author?
What traits does he assign to the idea of "author"? In other words, what, in Barthes' view is at stake in the belief in author as sole originator of and somehow present in the text? What is denied by the modern "sway of the author"?
How exactly does he define "text" either implicitly or directly through the arguments presented in this essay?
In your own view, does the author "precede" the text, or is the text produced as it is written and read?
Foucault: "What is an Author?"
How does Foucault define the "author function"? Do you see any similarities between Foucault's address to the author function and Barthes' concept of the "sway of the author"? When does the author function develop and what are its principle features?
Is Foucault's discussion of the relationship of writing to death somehow connected to Barthes' comments on the disappearance of the author?
What, for Foucault, replaces the "privileged position of the author"? Are his arguments credible?
How does Foucault's discussion of the different characteristics of the author function [369-372] serve to define what he means by "discourse"?
precisely, does he mean by "founders of discursivity"? Can a novelist
or poet be a founder of discursivity?
WEEK EIGHT: MARCH 2
BARTHES AND BAKHTIN
Barthes Handouts: "from Image Music Text Stephen Heath, Trans. New York: Hill and Wang, 1977.: "The Struggle with the Angel"(1971): 125-141 & from Robet Young's Untying the Text: "Theory of the Text" : 31-47.
Bakhtin Handouts: from Theory of the Novel, Michael McKeon, Ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2000: "Grand Theory III [317-320] by McKeon & From the Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays [321-353] by Mikhail Bakhtin. Articles Applying Bakhtin: "Heteroglossia in Great Jones Street" [206-236] by Robert E. Kohn & "Revisiting the Southern Grotesque: Mikhail Bakhtin and the Case of Carson McCullers" [108-123] by Sarah Gleeson-White. [Bibliographic information for the articles appears with the handouts.]
WEEK NINE: MARCH 8-12
WEEK TEN: MARCH 16
THE POLITICAL UNCONSCIOUS
From The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act  by Fredric Jameson: "On Interpretation [17-23 & 58-102];
Chapter 2: "Magical Narratives [103-150]; and Chapter 5: "Romance and Reification" [206-280]. Handout: Gerald Prince: from A Dictionary of Narratology: "Semiotic Square."
WEEK ELEVEN: MARCH 23
Derrida, Jacques. "Letter to a Japanese Friend." in Derrida and Difference. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, eds. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1988: 1-5.
Lawrence, David Herbert. "The Blind Man." in The Portable D.H. Lawrence. Diana Trilling, ed. New York: The Viking Press, Inc., 1969: 80-104.
Clausson, Nils. "Practicing Deconstruction, Again: Blindness, Insight and the Lovely Treachery of Words in D.H. Lawrence's 'The Blind Man'." College Literature 34.1 [Winter 2007]: 107-128.
Prud'homme, Joanne and Lyne Légaré. "Semanalysis. Engendering the Formula." in Louis Hébert (dir.). Signo [on-line], Rimouski (Quebec), http://signosemio.com.
Scheer, Steven C. "'Signifiance' vs. Significance: Or, Why It Is a Good Idea to 'Reason' Deconstructively." http://www.stevencscheer.com/deconstruction.htm
WEEK TWELVE: MARCH 30
Hans Robert Jauss: from "Literary History as a Challenge to Literary Theory" in Critical Theory Since Plato. 3rd edition. Hazard
Adams and Leroy Searle, eds. Boston: Thomson Wadsworth, 2005: 1237-1254.
Wolfgang Iser: "Interaction between Text and Reader" in The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Vincent B. Leitch, ed.
New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2001: 1670-1682.
From New Directions in American Reception Theory. Philip Goldstein and James L. Machor, eds. New York: Oxford UP, 2008:
Marcial Gonzales: "Reception and Authenticity: Danny Santiago's Famous All Over Town [179-194]
Rhannon Bury: "Textual Poaching or Gamekeeping? A Comparative Study of Two Six Feet Under Internet Fan Forums"
WEEK THIRTEEN: APRIL 6
Geertz, Clifford. "Thick Description: Toward and Interpretive Theory of Culture." in The Interpretation of Cultures.
New York, Basic Books, 1973: 3-16.
Greenblatt, Stephen. "Introduction." in Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare. Chicago: Chicago UP,
Greenblatt, Stephen. "Epilogue." in Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare. Chicago: Chicago UP,
Greenblatt, Stephen. "Fiction and Friction." in Shakespearean Negotiations. Berkeley: California UP, 1988: 66-93.
WEEK FOURTEEN: APRIL 13
Lipman-Blumen, Jean. "Sex Roles, Gender roles, and Power" from Gender Roles and Power : 1-11.
Butler, Judith. "Preface" and "Introduction" to Bodies That Matter : ix-xii & 1-23.
Butler, Judith. Chapter 4 of Bodies That Matter: "Gender is Burning: Questions of Appropriation and Subversion": 121-140.
Butler, Judith. Chapter 2 of Undoing Gender : 40-56.
WEEK FIFTEEN: APRIL 20
From The Long Revolution by Raymond Williams. New York: Columbia UP, 1961: Chapter Two: "The Analysis of Culture": 41-71.
Hall, Stuart. "Cultural Studies and Its Theoretical Legacies." Cultural Studies. Ed. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, and Paula Treichler. New York: Routledge, 1992: 277-294.
Stallybrass, Peter. "Shakespeare, the Individual, and the Text." Cultural Studies. Ed. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, and Paula Treichler. New York: Routledge, 1992: 593-612.
WEEK SIXTEEN: APRIL 27
Mitra, Indrani and Madhu Mitra. "The Discourse of Liberal Feminism and Third World Texts." College Literature 18.3 (October 1991): 55-63. Print.
Penley, Constance. "Feminism, Psychoanalysis, and the Study of Popular Culture." Cultural Studies. Ed. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, and Paula Treichler. New York: Routledge, 1992: 479-500.
Radway, Janice. "Mail Order Culture and Its Critics: The Book of the Month Club, Commodification and Consumption, and the Problem of Cultural Authority." Cultural Studies. Ed. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, and Paula Treichler. New York: Routledge, 1992: 512-530.
WEEK SEVENTEEN: MAY 4
Your seminar paper is due no later than 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, May 4--unless otherwise arranged.