Critical Practices

L371 — Fall 2021

Joshua Kates
Days and Times
3:15p - 4:30p TR (3 CR)
Course Description

The aim of this course is to familiarize students with some of the leading problems and debates comprising the field of literary theory. We will study, in particular, two issues. The first will be literary or artistic value: are some works to be judged better than others, and, if so, how, by what criterion or standard? What is the “standard of taste,” as the Scottish philosopher, David Hume put it? Secondly, how does one understand or interpret literature; what should a reader do with literature and what is he or she actually interpreting—the author’s intention, the words on the page as defined by a dictionary, or something else? Here we will touch on debates that include legal interpretation (Judge Antonin Scalia’s textual views) as well as theories of poetics and language (those of the so-called New Critics, Speech Acts, some Structuralism and Post-Structuralism). Students are expected to complete the readings for the classes for which they are assigned, and their grade will depend on midterm and final papers and exams, as well as occasional short assignments.

Interested in this course?

The full details of this course are available on the Office of the Registrar website.

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