Literary Theory

Course Description

A survey of major arguments about the nature of literature, literary expression, and literary experience from Plato through the mid-20th century.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate, in both discussion and writing, familiarity with the assumptions and conclusions of important literary theories from the classical era through the mid-20th century.
  • Demonstrate, in both discussion and writing, familiarity with questions about literature which have been posed by critics of different eras and critical perspectives, and with the ways in which those critics have tried to respond to those questions.
  • Demonstrate, in both discussion and writing, the ability to read literary theory texts critically, to analyze their assumptions, and compare their arguments with other theoretical texts.
  • Situate classic theoretical texts within the ongoing debates over persistent critical themes and questions.
  • Apply different theoretical approaches to the analysis and interpretation of different works of literature.


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