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This subject provides an introduction to the central topics and problems raised in European Critical Theory in the period from 1968-2000. It aims not merely to introduce the concepts, but to demonstrate how these concepts can be operationalised in methods of analysis. The topics to be considered will include, amongst others: the author, text/context/frame, formal methods and materialist/historical concerns, discourse, the reader, the subject deconstruction. Theorists contributing to our understanding of these topics will include: Barthes, Derrida, Foucault, Benjamin, Kristeva, Spivak.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject, students should:
- have learned how to read theoretical writing;
- have learned how any particular theoretical orientation allows us to ask questions that we would not ask otherwise;
- have learned that a 'theory' is not merely a set of ideas, but a technical instrument for analysing language-based cultural objects such as literature;
- have learned how to engage in such analyses and to evaluate their outcomes.
At the completion of this subject, students should:
- be able to apply certain methods of criticism on literary texts taken from a range of genres;
- be able to elaborate their own research project, applying literary criticism to a work of their choice.
Last updated: 29 April 2020