ENGL505/LIT497/CMP497: Literary Theory, Fall 2017
Prof. Harriet Hustis
This course is designed to offer students a broad-based introduction to the discipline of literary theory from a range of cultures, historical periods, and intellectual perspectives. Students will read, analyze, and synthesize texts of literary theory from a critical, theoretical, and multi-national perspective.
Required Text: David H. Richter, The Critical Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends, Third Edition. ISBN 978-0312415204
Two, 10-page analytical essays: 25% each, 50% total
Class participation: 25%
Take-home final exam (6-8 pages): 25%
Except in cases of documented medical or family emergencies, no late assignments will be accepted without PRIOR approval of the instructor.
Essay Assignments: Everyone will submit two, 10-page, double-spaced analytical essays to Canvas on the assigned due date. Topics will be made available several weeks prior to the due date. You must do your own work: Plagiarism is a serious offense and will be treated accordingly.
Class Participation (worth 25%): Class participation is extremely important: if you must miss a class, you will nevertheless be expected to find out what you missed and to keep up with the reading and with any additional assigned materials. If you wish to obtain credit for a missed class session, you must contact me and arrange to complete an assignment equivalent to the class session that you will miss. Class participation grades are determined in the following way: I divide 100 points by the number of class sessions for the semester (usually 14 for a once-a-week class meeting, barring any unforeseen cancellations). This means that each class is typically worth about 7 points. It is not hard to earn 7 points in a 3-hour class session: the quality of your contribution matters more than the quantity—it should be relevant, on-topic, and coherent, it should show that you have completed the week’s assigned reading, and it should show your willingness to engage with the issues raised by the week’s assignment. Click here for TCNJ’s Attendance Policy.
Final Exam (worth 25%): A final exam will be scheduled during finals week. The final exam for the course will be a required essay of approximately 6-8 pages. Click here for TCNJ’s Final Examination Policy.
Academic Integrity: Academic dishonesty is any attempt by the student to gain academic advantage through dishonest means, to submit, as his or her own, work which has not been done by him/her or to give improper aid to another student in the completion of an assignment. Such dishonesty would include, but is not limited to: submitting as his/her own a project, paper, report, test, or speech copied from, partially copied, or paraphrased from the work of another (whether the source is printed, under copyright, or in manuscript form). Credit must be given for words quoted or paraphrased. The rules apply to any academic dishonesty, whether the work is graded or ungraded, group or individual, written or oral. Click here for TCNJ’s Academic Integrity Policy.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Policy: This course complies with TCNJ’s Policy on Disability. Any student who has a documented disability and is in need of academic accommodations should notify the professor of this course and contact Disability Support Services (609-771-3199). Accommodations are individualized and in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1992.
4th Hour Statement: All 4-credit courses require students to attend a regularly scheduled 4th hour of class meeting time (as indicated in PAWS) OR to complete additional work outside of class that meets the equivalent of a 4th hour of class meeting time (in the form of group work, attendance at campus events, rigorous reading assignments and/or research, field trips, community-engaged learning, and/or other academic work as stipulated by the individual instructor). This course adheres to the latter requirement; please see below for specific course requirements, assignments and due-dates.
Turn off your cellphones, please, and only use portable electronic devices (laptops, iPads, etc.) to access the assigned course materials in class. Anyone caught texting, IM-ing, Facebooking, Tweeting or using other forms of social media to socialize during class will receive a zero for that day’s class participation.
63 and below F
All 4-credit courses in the English Department require students to attend a regularly scheduled 4th hour of class meeting time (as indicated in PAWS) OR to complete additional work outside of class that meets the equivalent of a 4th hour of class meeting time (in the form of group work, attendance at campus events, rigorous reading assignments and/or research, field trips, community-engaged learning, and/or other academic work as stipulated by the individual instructor). This course adheres to the latter requirement; please see below for specific course requirements, assignments and due-dates.
**please note: unless otherwise indicated you are expected to have read the entire assignment by the start of class on the date indicated**
Tues. August 30th: Discussion: What is the relationship between art and experience?
Henry James, “The Art of Fiction” (464-475)
Oscar Wilde, “The Decay of Lying” (478-496)
selections from Virginia Woolf (599-610)
Tuesday, Sept. 6th: no class—classes follow Monday schedule!
Tues. September 13th: Discussion: What is the role of the individual in the “literary experience” (as reader, writer, or critic)?
Jean-Paul Sartre, “Why Write?” (662-672)
Wolfgang Iser, “The Reading Process” (1002-1013)
Susan Sontag, “Against Interpretation” (740-746)
Tues. September 20th : Discussion: The role of tradition: how does “the canon” influence reading, writing and criticism?
T.S. Eliot, “Tradition and the Individual Talent” (498-504)
John Guillory, selection from Cultural Capital (1472-1483)
Nina Baym, “Melodramas of Beset Manhood” (1520-1530)
Tues. September 27th: Discussion: What is the role of the author’s (or critic’s) intention in the creation of literature (or literary criticism)?
Wimsatt & Beardsley, “The Intentional Fallacy” (749-56)
selections from W.E.B. Du Bois (567-574)
Judith Fetterley, From The Resisting Reader (1035-1041)
Tues. October 4th: Discussion: Formalism & Reader Response
Victor Shklovsky, “Art as Technique” (775-784)
Stanley Fish, “How to Recognize a Poem…” (1023-1030)
Peter Rabinowitz, from Before Reading (1043-1056)
No class Tuesday, Oct. 11th—Fall Break!
Tues. October 18th: Discussion: Psychoanalytic Criticism
Peter Brooks, “Freud’s Masterplot” (1161-1171)
Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure & Narrative Cinema” (1172-1180)
Freud, “Medusa’s Head” (533)
Tues. October 25th : Discussion: Deconstruction
Ferdinand Saussure, “Nature of the Linguistic Sign” (832-34)
Jacques Derrida, “Structure, Sign and Play…” (878-888)
Michel Foucault, “What Is an Author?” (904-913)
Tues. November 1st: Discussion: Marxism
Althusser, from Ideology & Ideological…” (1264-1271)
Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age…” (1233-1248)
Paper #1 due in Canvas by the start of class!
Tues. November 8th: Discussion: New Historicism & Cultural Studies
Michel de Certeau, “Walking in the City” (1343-1356)
Pierre Bourdieu, from Distinction (1398-1403)
Lawrence Buell, The Ecocritical Insurgency (1433-1441)
Tues. November 15th Discussion: Gender Studies and Queer Theory
Cixous, “The Laugh of the Medusa” (1643-1656)
Butler, “Imitation and Gender Insubordination” (1707-1719)
Tuesday, November 22nd: no class meeting– Paper #2 due in Canvas by the start of class!
Tues. November 29th: Discussion: Postcolonialism & Ethnic Studies
Edward Said, from Introduction to Orientalism (1801-1813)
Gloria Anzaldúa, “La conciencia…” (1850-1857)
Tues. December 6th: Discussion: Postcolonialism & Ethnic Studies, cont.
Benedict Anderson, “The Origins of National Consciousness” (1815-1820)
Homi Bhabha, “Signs Taken for Wonders” (1875-1890)
Henry Louis Gates, “Writing, Race, etc.” (1891-1903)
Tues. December 13th: Discussion: Ethnic Studies & Postmodernism
Toni Morrison, from Playing in the Dark (1791-1800)
Bell Hooks, “Postmodern Blackness” (2009-2013)
Cornel West, “Postmodernism & Black America” (2014-2018)
Tues. December 20th: Discussion: Disability Theory
Reading (in Canvas):
Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, selection from Staring: How We Look (New York & London: Oxford UP, 2009), pp. 33-59
Tobin Siebers, “Tender Organs, Narcissism, and Identity Politics” from Disability Theory (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2008), pp. 34-52
Take-home final exam due in Canvas by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 23rd!
Grading Rubric for Writing Assignments
Outstanding: (Letter grade = A/A-)
Skillfully argues a clear, well-supported position and demonstrates mastery of the elements of writing.
- Presents a compelling, clear, debatable claim which is focused and specific.
- Provides ample, relevant, concrete evidence and persuasive support (i.e., reasons, examples, data or quotations) for each debatable assertion.
- When assignment prompt requires it, synthesizes information and arguments from multiple, reliable sources or perspectives, summarizes them fairly, and assesses them critically.
- Displays a clear and consistent overall organization of interrelated ideas.
- Clearly addresses claim, structure, and evidence to paper’s intended audience.
- Develops cogent, logically organized paragraphs with clear, concise, and effective transitions.
- Demonstrates outstanding control of language, including effective word choice and sentence variety, and superior facility with the conventions of standard written English (i.e., grammar, usage, punctuation, and mechanics).
Strong: (Letter grade = B/B+)
Competently argues a position, provides relevant supporting detail, and demonstrates good control of the elements of writing.
- Presents an interesting, clear, and debatable claim
- Provides relevant, concrete evidence and persuasive support (i.e., reasons, examples, data or quotations) for most debatable assertions.
- Incorporates information and arguments from multiple, reliable sources or perspectives, but does not always assess them critically.
- Displays a clear and consistent overall organization of ideas.
- Claim, structure and evidence chosen with some attention to the paper’s audience.
- Develops unified and coherent paragraphs with clear transitions.
- Demonstrates strong control of language, including appropriate word choice and sentence variety, and facility with the conventions of standard written English (i.e., grammar, usage, punctuation, and mechanics).
Adequate: (Letter grade = B-/C+)
Argues a position, provides supporting detail, and demonstrates a working knowledge of the elements of writing.
- Presents a claim which is not necessarily debatable or specific.
- Provides evidence and support for most assertions (i.e., reasons, examples, data or quotations).
- Incorporates multiple sources or perspectives, some of which may be unreliable or used uncritically.
- Displays an overall organization, but some ideas may seem illogical and/or unrelated.
- Claim, structure or evidence not entirely suited to the paper’s audience.
- Develops unified and coherent paragraphs with generally adequate or apparent transitions.
- Demonstrates control of language, including word choice and sentence variety, and a familiarity with the conventions of standard written English (i.e., grammar, usage, punctuation, and mechanics).
Limited: (Letter grade = C/C-)
Attempts to argue a position that is undeveloped, unfocused, and/or unsupported and demonstrates uneven control of the elements of writing.
- Presents a claim which is vague, limited in scope and/or marginally debatable.
- Provides little support, analysis or persuasive reasoning; may rely heavily on sweeping generalizations, narration, description, or summary.
- Insufficiently incorporates multiple sources and/or inadequately addresses alternative perspectives.
- Displays an uneven, illogical, and/or ineffective organization.
- Claim, structure or evidence not suited to the paper’s audience.
- Generally develops coherent and unified paragraphs, but transitions may be weak or abrupt.
- Displays problems in word choice and/or sentence structure which sometimes interfere with meaning; sentence variety may be inadequate. Occasional major or frequent minor errors in grammar, usage, punctuation, and mechanics.
Seriously Limited: (Letter grade = D+/D or F)
Asserts a position that is largely undeveloped, unfocused, and/or unsupported and demonstrates insufficient control of the elements of writing.
- Presents a claim which is unclear, inconsistent, and/or insufficiently debatable.
- Lacks supporting evidence, analysis, or persuasive reasoning; may rely excessively on narration, description or summary.
- Fails to incorporate multiple sources and/or shows little or no awareness of alternative perspectives.
- Displays no consistent overall organization.
- Little or no attempt to consider audience in its choice of claim, structure or evidence.
- Does not develop coherent and unified paragraphs; transitions are illogical, unclear, or absent.
- Displays problems in word choice and/or sentence structure that frequently interfere with meaning; sentences are unvaried. Consistent errors in grammar, usage, punctuation, and mechanics.