DELC402: Reading Theoretically

20 credits

What are the main approaches through which we read important texts of literature? How can 'literary theory' help us to access different literary texts? How have well-known theorists and critics practised 'reading theoretically'? How do we constructively draw on their work, for our own projects?

This course introduces students to some of the major currents in literary theory – feminism, Marxism, structuralism, post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, cultural analysis, comparative literature – through texts of well-known theorists. The texts are selected to show theorists 'at work': each of them is an example of a theoretical analysis of an important literary work from a different genre (poetry, novel, essay, novella, the bible). Students are required to read these works (in the original language, where possible) and develop their own standpoint towards the primary and secondary texts. In the classroom, a lecture will introduce students to the context of each text. The main part of each session will be dedicated to the development of critical reading skills and analytical debate of the text. These will then feed into a mini-conference that will complete the course.