CL 390:

Twentieth-Century (Western) Theory:

An Introduction

Instructor: Katherine Arens


**Note: Each class has several essays; authors listed in order of importance to class discussion -- read as much as you can each day.

**Texts not in both editions of Adams I are available on reserve and for purchase as a supplemental copy package (CP for each ed.); exceptions noted below (essays not crucial).

Week 1: 27 August

Wed: Introduction to the Course: The Art and Science of Criticism

WEEK 2: 1, 3 September



1. Text-Intrinsic Criticism (including New Critics, Chicago Neo-Aristotelian, mythopoetic criticism)


T.S. Eliot, "Tradition and the Individual Talent," "Hamlet and His Problems," I: 783-790; IR: 760-766

I.A. Richards, "Practical Criticism," I: 847-859; IR: 826-837

John Crowe Ransom, "Poetry: A Note on Ontology," "Criticism as Pure Speculation," I: 870-890; IR: 865-883

R.P. Blackmur, "A Critic's Job of Work," I: 891-904; IR: 884-896 Kenneth Burke, "Literature as Equipment for Living," I: 942-947; IR: 920-924

WEEK 3: 8, 10 September


W.K. Wimsatt & Monroe C. Beardsley, "The Intentional Fallacy," "The Affective Fallacy," I: 1014-1031; IR: 944-959

Wallace Stevens, "The Noble Rider and the Sound of Words," I: 968-979 (CP)

Robert Penn Warren, "Pure and Impure Poetry," I: 980-992 (CP)

Ernst Cassirer, "Art," I: 993-1013; IR: 925-943


Cleanth Brooks, "The Heresy of Paraphrase," "Irony as a Principle of Structure," I: 1032-1048; IR: 960-974

Northrop Frye, "Ethical Criticism: Theory of Symbols," I: 1117-1147; IR: 1045-1072; "The Critical Path," II: 251-264

E.H. Gombrich, "From Representation to Expression," I: 1167-1175; IR: 1082- 1089

Murray Krieger, "The Existential Basis of Contextual Criticism," "Mediation, Language, and Vision in the Reading of Literature," I: 1223-1249; "An Apology for Poetics," II: 534-542; "A Waking Dream," IR: 1245-1254 (not in CP; not significant)

WEEK 4: 15, 17 September


Hayden White, "The Historical Text as Literary Artifact," II: 394-407

Meyer H. Abrams, "How to Do Things with Texts," II: 435-449

Frank Kermode, "Fictions," II: 70-78

Stanley Fish, "Is There a Text in this Class?," II: 524-533;"Normal Circumstances, . . . ," IR: 1199-1209 (not in CP; not significant)


2. Formalism/Prague School


Boris Eichenbaum, "The Theory of the 'Formal Method'," I: 828-846; IR: 800- 816

Jan Mukarovsky, "Standard Language and Poetic Language," I: 1049-1057; IR: 975-982

Mikhail M. Bakhtin, "Discourse in the Novel," II: 664-678; "Epic and Novel," IR: 838-855 (CP)

WEEK 5: 22, 24 September


Roman Jakobson, "The Metaphoric and Metonymic Poles," I: 1113-1116; IR: 1041-1044

Tzvetan Todorov, Genres in Discourse, 1-49

Tzvetan Todorov, Theories of the Symbol, Chaps. 8-10, 246-284 **Background: Terence Hawkes, Structuralism and Semiotics

3. Phenomenology/Hermeneutics


Roman Ingarden, "Phenomenological Aesthetics: An Attempt at Defining its Range," II: 184-197

E.D. Hirsch, Jr., "Objective Interpretation," I: 1176-1194; IR: 1099-1115

Paul Ricoeur, " The Metaphorical Process as Cognition, Imagination, and Feeling," II: 423-434

Edmund Husserl, "Phenomenology," II: 657-663

WEEK 6: 29 September, 1 October


Martin Heidegger, "Hölderlin and the Essence of Poetry," II: 757-765

Hans-Georg Gadamer, "Truth and Method," II: 839-855

Georges Poulet, "Phenomenology of Reading," I: 1212-1222; IR: 1146-1154

Maurice Blanchot, "The Essential Solitude," II: 823-831

**Critical Precis Due: Phenomenology or Hermeneutics


4. Linguistics/Speech Act


Benjamin Lee Whorf, "The Relation of Habitual Thought and Behavior to Language," II: 709-723

Noam Chomsky, "Aspects of the Theory of Syntax," II: 37-58

Emile Benveniste, "The Nature of the Linguistic Sign," "Subjectivity in Language," II: 724-732

WEEK 7: 6, 8 October


J.L. Austin, "How to Do Things with Words," II: 832-838

Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Philosophical Investigations," II: 766-788

John R. Searle, "What Is a Speech Act?," II: 59-69




5. Structuralism/Semiotics

WEEK 8: 13, 15 October


Ferdinand de Saussure, "Course in General Linguistics," II: 645-656; IR, 717-726

Charles Sanders Peirce, "Letters to Lady Welby," II: 637-644

Roland Barthes, "The Structuralist Activity," I: 1195-1199; IR: 1127-1130; "Death of the Author," IR: 1130-1133 (CP)

Claude Lévi-Strauss, "The Structural Study of Myth," II: 808-822

Jonathan Culler, "Beyond Interpretation," II: 321-329



Yurij Lotman & B.A. Uspensky, "On the Semiotic Mechanism of Culture," II: 408- 422

Umberto Eco, The Limits of Interpretation, "Semiotics, Pragmatics, and Text Semiotics," 203-221

Clifford Geertz, "Blurred Genres: The Refiguration of Social Thought," II: 513- 523


6. Marxist Criticism

WEEK 9: 20, 22 October


Karl Marx, "The German Ideology," "A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy," I: 631-634; IR: 624-627

Leon Trotsky, "The Formalist School of Poetry and Marxism," I: 819-827; IR: 792-799

Georg Lukács, "Art and Objective Truth," II: 789-807; "The Ideal of the Harmonious Man," IR: 902-908 (CP)

Edmund Wilson, "Marxism and Literature," I: 905-913 (CP)



Walter Benjamin, "Theses on the Philosophy of History," II: 679-685; "On Language as Such," IR: 742-749 (CP)

Louis Althusser, "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses," II: 238-250

Theodor Adorno, "Aesthetic Theory," II: 231-237; "Cultural Criticism," IR: 1032-1040 (CP)

Raymond Williams, "The Country and the City," IR: 1155-1161 (CP)

Max Horkheimer, "The Social Function of Philosophy," II: 686-696

Nancy Fraser, "What's Critical about Critical Theory?," Feminism as Critique, 31-56


7. Reception Theory

WEEK 10: 27, 29 October


Hans Robert Jauss, "Literary History as a Challenge to L. Theory," II: 163-183

Wolfgang Iser, "The Repertoire," II: 359-380

Thomas S. Kuhn, "Objectivity, Value Judgment, and Theory Choice," II: 381-393


8. From Post-Structuralism to Deconstructionism/Yale Critics


Friedrich Nietzsche, "Truth and Falsity," IR: 634-639 (CP)

Martin Heidegger, "The Nature of Language," IR: 1090-1098 (CP)

Michel Foucault, "What is an Author?," "Discourse on Language," II: 137-162; "Truth and Power," IR: 1134-1145 (CP)

Jacques Derrida, "Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences," "Of Grammatology," "Difference," II: 79-136

Georges Bataille, "The Notion of Expenditure," IR: 856-864 (CP)

WEEK 11: 3, 5 November


Geoffrey H. Hartman, "Literary Commentary as Literature," II: 344-358

J. Hillis Miller, "The Critic as Host," II: 450-468

Paul De Man, "Rhetoric of Temporality," "Semiology and Rhetoric," II: 198-230; "Semiology and Rhetoric," IR: 1174-1182 (CP)

Harold Bloom, "Poetry, Revisionism, Repression," II: 330-343; "The Dialectics of Poetic Tradition," IR: 1183-1189 (CP)


9. Marginalization and Post-Colonial Criticism


Edward W. Said, "Secular Criticism," II: 604-622; "The World, The Text, and the Critic," IR: 1210-1222 (CP)

Chinua Achebe, "Colonialist Criticism," IR: 1190-1198 (CP)

Donna Haraway, Primate Visions, "Teddy Bear Patriarchy," 26-58; "Woman's Place is in the Jungle," 279-303

Ranajit Guha, "Preface" and "On Some Aspects of the Historiography of Colonial India," R. Guha & Gayatri Spivak, eds., Selected Subaltern Studies, 35- 44; Spivak, "Subaltern Studies," 2-34

Gayatri Spivak, In Other Worlds, "A Literary Representation of the Subaltern," 241-268

**Background: L. Grossberg & C. Nelson, "Introduction: The Territory of Marxism," Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, 1-13

WEEK 12: 10, 12 November


David Theo Goldberg, ed. Anatomy of Racism
-Frantz Fanon, "The Fact of Blackness," 108-126

-Homi Bhabha, "Interrogating Identity: Post-Colonial Prerogative," 183-209

-Edward W. Said, "Zionism from the Standpoint of Its Victims," 210-246

bell hooks, Feminist Theory: from margin to center, "Changing Perspectives on Power," and "Rethinking the Nature of Work," 83-105

Cornel West, "Marxist Theory and the Specificity of Afro-American Oppression," Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, 17-29

Catharine MacKinnon, "Desire and Power: A Feminist Perspective," Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, 105-121

**Critical Precis Due: marginalization theory


10. Psychoanalytic/Freudian Criticism


Sigmund Freud, "Creative Writers and Daydreaming," I: 748-753; IR: 711- 711-716

Carl G. Jung, "On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry," I: 809-818; IR, 783-791

Lionel Trilling, "Freud and Literature," "Art and Neurosis," I: 948-967 (CP)

**Background: R. Wellek, History, Vol. 7, Chap. 4

WEEK 13: 17, 19 November


Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, "Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Psychoanalysis," II: 283-307

Jacques Lacan, "The Mirror Stage," "The Agency of the Letter in the Unconscious or Reason Since Freud," II: 733-756

Dorothy Leland, "Lacanian Psychoanalysis," Fraser & Bartky, eds., Revaluing French Feminism, 113-135


11. Feminist Criticism


Sandra M. Gilbert, "Literary Paternity," II: 485-496

S. M. Gilbert & Susan Gubar, "Infection in the Sentence," IR: 1234-1244 (CP)

Lillian S. Robinson, "Treason Our Text: Feminist Challenges to the Literary Canon," II: 571-582

Annette Kolodny, "Dancing Through the Minefield: Some Observations on the Theory, Practice, and Politics of a Feminist Literary Criticism," II: 497-512

Virginia Woolf, "A Room of One's Own," IR: 817-825

Elaine Showalter, "Towards a Feminist Poetics," IR: 1223-1233

**Background: Toril Moi, Sexual/Textual Politics

WEEK 14: 24, 26 November(+ Thanksgiving)


Alice A. Jardine, "Gynesis," II: 559-570

Simone de Beauvoir, "The Second Sex," IR: 993-1000

Seyla Benhabib, "The Generalized and the Concrete Other," Feminism as Critique, 77-95

bell hooks, Feminist Theory, "Black Women: Shaping Feminist Theory," and "Feminism: A Movement to End Oppression," 1-32

**Critical Precis Due: Feminist theory


12. Identity Construction/Agency


Hélène Cixous, "The Laugh of the Medusa," II: 308-320

Julia Kristeva, "The True-Real," The Kristeva Reader, 187-237

Luce Irigaray, "This Sex Which Is Not One," "Women on the Market," "Commodities among Themselves," This Sex Which Is Not One, 23-33, 170-197

Julia Kristeva, "Women's Time," II: 469-484; "From One Identity to Another," IR, 1162-1173 (CP)

WEEK 15: 1, 3 December


Toril Moi, "Appropriating Bourdieu" (copy)

Nancy Fraser, "The Uses and Abuses of French Discourse Theories for Feminist Politics," Fraser & Bartky, eds., Revaluing French Feminism, 177-194

Diana Meyers, "The Subversion of Women's Agency," Fraser & Bartky, eds., Revaluing French Feminism, 136-161

Diana Fuss, "Essentially Speaking," Fraser & Bartky, eds., Revaluing French Feminism, 94-112

Paul Smith, Discerning the Subject, "Ideology," 3-23; "Feminism" and "Responsibilities," 133-160


13. Visual Construction of Identity/The Gaze


Linda Nochlin, Women, Art, and Power, 1-36, 145-178

Judith Butler, Gender Trouble, 1-34

Kaja Silverman, The Acoustic Mirror, 1-71, 187-234


FINAL EXAMINATION: Thursday, 11 December, 9-12 (in-class)