E 791A: THEORIZING THE DISCIPLINE
syllabus is subject to change. The latest version on this website
is the binding syllabus.
Office Hours: Wed and by appointment.
545-6598 | firstname.lastname@example.org
This course introduces students to current debates, issues, and challenges
inherent in the discipline of literary study. This course incorporates
two separate though related lines of inquiry. The first line traces the
historical transition from Matthew Arnold to the postmodern linguistic
turn and beyond. We will examine textual criticism, stylistics, structuralism,
Marxism and cultural materialism, deconstruction, and second-wave Feminism.
The second line of inquiry opens the discussion to the literary profession.
You will be encouraged to investigate top journals in your field, to acquaint
yourself with some of the UMass faculty working in specific areas, and
to pursue archival and web-based research. Course requirements are limited
to two presentations, a number of leads, and a final paper.
We will be using:
Richard. Stylistics. Routledge, 1997.
Jonathan. Pursuit of Signs. Cornell UP, 2002.
- EAGLETON, Terry. Marxist Literary Theory: A Reader.
- EAGLETON, Terry. Marxism and Literary Criticism. U
- WILSON, Edmund. To the Finland Station. NY Review of
- McQUILLAN, Martin. Deconstruction: A Reader. Routledge,
- NORRIS, Christopher. Deconstruction: Theory and Practice.
- IRIGARAY, Luce. Speculum of the Other Woman. Cornell UP,
- CIXOUS, Helene. The Newly Born Woman. U Minnesota, 1986.
- BUTLER, Judith. Gender Trouble. 10th ed. Routledge, 1999.
- HEANEY, Seamus. Beowulf. Norton, 2000.
All will be
available at Amherst Books (formerly Atticus Book) in Amherst, 8
Main St. I encourage you to buy them all. Recommended readings will
be on reserve at Du Bois.
I have recommended a few relevant films. These are purely optional, and
can be had on campus from either the library or the DEFA film archives
in Herter Hall. Look for the exciting
icon in the schedule!
STRUCTURE AND OBJECTIVES:
The general objectives of this course are to have you engage knowledgeably
with literary theory, to apply that theory, and to
see how theory interacts with the business of English
person is responsible for one presentation and a write-up;
During the 15-minute presentation, you will summarize
the views of a philosopher or critic whose work relates to the theory we
are considering. A three-page write-up is due within 10 days of this
person is also responsible for a lead, which is a brief (3- to
5-minute) introduction of a text during which you raise questions and
issues of relevance for class discussion. Finally, each person is
responsible for a final paper. It is to be 20 to 25 pages, fully
documented, and to engage one of the critical approaches we discuss.
breakdown of your class grade is as follows:
presentation : 10%
presentation write-up: 20%
final paper 65%
I encourage you to meet with me at least once during the semester.
Please let me know beforehand if you would like to meet during my
office hours. Otherwise, please make an appointment to meet with
me at a time convenient to you and I will try to oblige.
1: Please make and keep a copy of all your
assignments. That copy may be a disc copy. You do not want to risk your
work to the caprices of an indifferent fate. Also, in case any difficulties
arise with respect to misplaced assignments or with respect to discrepancies
between your records and my own, I will accept the evidence of your
computer system's dating function. For your own peace of mind, I suggest
that you lock any document on the day it is due. That will prevent your
computer's operating system from associating your document with a later
The course schedule is subject to change. It is not to be construed
as a substitute for your attendance or as a catalogue of all the information
for which you are responsible. All changes will be announced with a
reasonable lead time. This syllabus constitutes a binding contract.
If you do not agree with any of the provisions set herein or if you
foresee disagreeing with any of the provisions which may reasonably
be added during the course of the term, then you are free to drop this
class within the time allotted by the university.
material pertaining to this course--namely handouts, quizzes, exams,
tests, maps, graphs, charts, printed matter, recorded matter, electronic
matter including but not limited to this syllabus and associated electronic
documents, films, video clips, conversations, office consultations,
classroom responses, lectures, asides, answers to classroom queries,
and related utterances--is copyrighted material and is subject to international
and US laws of copyright. Enrollment in this course constitutes tacit
acceptance of this agreement and of the copyright claims made therein.
Any breach of this agreement or use of copyrighted material by any member
of the university or the public without prior consent will be met with