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ENGL101: Introduction to Literary Studies

Unit 1: Text and Discourse   If you read regularly, you probably have a good sense of what kind of literature you like and what you don’t like. However, if you are like most readers, you may not know why you react in the ways you do or how, exactly, writing works to elicit these reactions from you. Many forms of literature, from novels to poems to plays, create a world and draw readers into this world. When we like what we are reading, we can get lost in this world. We may lose track of time, lose track of where we are, and lose control of our emotions. When this happens, our critical faculties are turned off.  By contrast, when we analyze literature and try to understand our reactions to it, we must turn our critical faculties on. In order to do this, we have to take a step back from the story we are reading to look at how it is constructed and for what purpose. In the following unit, you will learn about several styles of literary criticism that are all designed to give readers a critical perspective on what they read. Each critical style is designed to help readers adopt a new critical perspective, so that they can gain a deeper understanding of how the piece is created, what it means, and why readers react to it in the ways they do.

Unit 1 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 16 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 1.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 1.2: 13 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2.1: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 1.2.3: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2.4: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2.5: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2.6: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2.7: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2.8: .5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.3: 2 hours

Unit1 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - define a number of approaches to investigating and interpreting literary texts, particularly through the critical perspective of literary theory; - identify various different (and oftentimes competing or conflicting) approaches to textual studies; and - compare and contrast a number of avenues to textual analysis.

1.1 Introduction to Literary Theory   - Reading: University of Tennessee at Martin’s Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Vince Brewton’s “Literary Theory” Link: University of Tennessee at Martin’s Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Vince Brewton’s “Literary Theory” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this brief overview of literary theory by Vince
Brewton. In addition to providing you with a definition of literary
theory, this reading will also provide a brief overview of the
schools of literary interpretation that you will encounter in more
detail later in this unit.  

 Consider the following study questions: What is the difference
between literary theory and traditional modes of literary criticism?
What are the major schools of literary theory? What might literary
theory serve to reveal about a literary text that traditional
criticism cannot?  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Lecture: Open Yale Courses: Paul H. Fry’s “Introduction to Theory of Literature”

    Link: Open Yale Courses: Paul H. Fry’s “Introduction to Theory of Literature” (Video)

    Instructions: Watch Paul Fry’s lecture in which he describes the philosophical bases of literary theory and the basic questions asked by literary theorists: What is literature? How and why is literature created? What does literature “do”? Pay particular attention to the first three chapters of the lecture.

    Consider the following study questions: Why do we study literature? What is hermeneutics?

    Watching this lecture should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.  It is attributed to Paul H. Fry. 

1.2 Critical Approaches to Literature   1.2.1 Text-Oriented Approaches: Formalism and New Criticism   - Reading: Bedford/St. Martin’s “Definition of the New Criticism” Link: Bedford/St. Martin’s “Definition of the New Criticism” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this brief overview of the New Criticism
published online by Bedford/St. Martin’s Press.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Lecture: The Open Academy: Yale University: Paul H. Fry’s “The Idea of the Autonomous Artwork” Link: The Open Academy: Yale University: Paul H. Fry’s “The Idea of the Autonomous Artwork” (Video)

    Instructions: Watch the first chapter of Paul Fry's lecture on New Criticism and Formalism, starting from the beginning of the video to the 7:27-minute mark. In this section, Professor Fry discusses the origin and significance of New Criticism. Then, restart the video at the 34:27-minute mark and watch to the end. In this segment, Professor Fry discusses the major themes within formalist traditions of literary analysis, including New Criticism. 

    Consider the following study questions: What made New Criticism new?  What is the critical focus of New Criticism?  Have you ever written an essay using elements of New Criticism?

    Watching this lecture should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to Paul H. Fry.

1.2.2 Text-Oriented Approaches: Deconstruction   - Reading: Bedford/St. Martin’s “Definition of Deconstruction” Link: Bedford/St. Martin’s “Definition of Deconstruction” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this brief overview of Deconstruction published
online by Bedford/St. Martin’s Press. At the end of the passage, you
will find a model essay by Theodore Roethke entitled “My Papa’s
Waltz: A Deconstructionist Reading.” Download this document and read
it carefully.  

 Consider the following study question: How does the practice of
Deconstruction differ from New Criticism and other formalist
approaches to literary analysis?  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyrights and terms of use
displayed on the webpages above.

1.2.3 Author-Oriented Approaches: Psychoanalytic   - Reading: Bedford/St. Martin’s “Definition of Psychoanalytic Criticism” and San Diego State University: Professor Laurel Amtower’s version of Sigmund Freud’s Essay on “The Uncanny”

Link: Bedford/St. Martin’s [“Definition of Psychoanalytic
Criticism”](http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/virtualit/poetry/critical_define/crit_psycho.html)
(HTML) and San Diego State University: Professor Laurel Amtower’s
version of Sigmund Freud’s Essay on [“The
Uncanny”](http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~amtower/uncanny.html) (HTML)  

 Also available in:  
 [PDF](http://web.mit.edu/allanmc/www/freud1.pdf)  

[Kindle](http://www.amazon.com/The-Uncanny-ebook/dp/B002RI9O7I/ref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fie%3DUTF8%26m%3DAG56TWVU5XWC2%26s%3Ddigital-text%26qid%3D1278083063%26sr%3D1-1) (Available
for $9.99)  

 Instructions: Read this brief overview of psychoanalytic criticism
published online by Bedford/St. Martin’s Press and Freud’s essay to
get a sense of his vision of psychoanalysis and a classic example of
his psychoanalytic critique of a literary text. Freud’s work was
seminal to the foundation of psychoanalytic criticism.  

 Consider the following study questions: What is the purpose of
psychoanalytical criticism? What does Freud mean when he refers to
the “uncanny?” How is the “uncanny” manifested in literature?  

 Bedford/St. Martin’s is an academic press that has made available
on its website brief definitions and overviews of various critical
and theoretical approaches to literature. Dr. Laurel Amtower has
made available online Freud’s essay via her faculty website at San
Diego State University.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyrights and terms of use
displayed on the web pages above. “The Uncanny” is in the public
domain.

1.2.4 Reader-Oriented Approaches: Reader Response   - Reading: Bedford/St. Martin’s “Definition of Reader-Response Criticism” and University of California at Irvine’s Anthropoetics: Wolfgang Iser’s “The Significance of Fictionalizing” Link: Bedford/St. Martin’s “Definition of Reader-Response Criticism” (HTML) and University of California at Irvine’s Anthropoetics: Wolfgang Iser’s “The Significance of Fictionalizing” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read the brief overview of reader-response criticism
published online by Bedford/St. Martin’s Press and Iser’s lecture to
get a sense of his vision of the power and significance of fiction.
Iser is a foundational figure of the school of reader-response
criticism.  

 Consider the following study questions: How does reader-response
criticism regard the function of the author of a literary text? How
do readers participate in making a text meaningful?  

 Bedford/St. Martin’s is an academic press that has made available
on its website brief definitions and overviews of various critical
and theoretical approaches to literature. Wolfgang Iser delivered
his lecture, “The Significance of Fictionalizing,” at the University
of California, Irvine, on February 24, 1997, and this lecture was
published by the online journal *Anthropoetics*.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyrights and terms of use
displayed on the webpages above.

1.2.5 Context-Oriented Approaches: Feminism, Gender Studies, and Queer Theory   - Lecture: Open Yale Courses: Paul H. Fry’s “Queer Theory and Gender Performativity” Link: Open Yale Courses: Paul H. Fry’s “Queer Theory and Gender Performativity” (Video)

 Instructions: Watch the following sections of the lecture, which
you can select from the right side of the screen:

-   Chapter 2: In this part of this lecture, Fry is describing the
    ideas of Michel Foucault, a philosopher who believed that
    political power structures play a significant role in regulating
    sexuality.  
-   Chapter 3: In this section, Fry discusses the work of Judith
    Butler, a leading scholar in queer theory who has argued that
    gender is not comprised of natural or fixed bodily categories,
    but rather can be understood as a performance.  
-   Chapter 6: In these remarks, Fry explains why queer theory is
    relevant to the study of literature.

Consider the following study questions: How are gender studies
related to the psychoanalytic tradition of criticism? How might
literature regulate sexual behavior?


 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/). It
is attributed to Paul H. Fry.
  • Reading: Bedford/St. Martin’s “Definition of Feminist Criticism” Link: Bedford/St. Martin’s “Definition of Feminist Criticism” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this brief overview of feminist criticism published online by Bedford/St. Martin’s Press

    Consider the following study questions: What is the primary focus of feminist criticism and theory? How do feminist critics and theorists regard the role of women in literature?

    Bedford/St. Martin’s is an academic press that has made available on its website brief definitions and overviews of various critical and theoretical approaches to literature.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyrights and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

1.2.6 Context-Oriented Approaches: Marxism and Critical Theory   - Lecture: Open Yale Courses: Paul H. Fry’s Lecture on “The Frankfurt School and Critical Theory” Link: Open Yale Courses: Paul H. Fry’s Lecture on “The Frankfurt School and Critical Theory” (Video)
 
Instructions: Watch the following sections of the lecture, which you can select from the right side of the screen:

-   Chapter 1: In this part of the lecture, Fry expands on the
    Marxist concept of “ideology,” which is introduced in the above
    reading.
-   Chapter 6: At the beginning of this chapter, Fry discusses
    Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, German critics who argued
    that popular literature and art are created by a “culture
    industry” that creates artwork in much the same way as
    factory-made products are mass produced. Products of the culture
    industry encourage audiences to passively consume art and make
    them susceptible to easy manipulation.
-   Chapter 7: In this chapter, Fry discusses the theories of Walter
    Benjamin, another German critic sometimes associated with
    Marxist criticism. Unlike Adorno and Horkheimer, Benjamin
    believed that popular art forms had some redeeming qualities and
    could help audiences recognize and even subvert the controls of
    ideology.

Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/). It
is attributed to Paul H. Fry.
  • Reading: Bedford/St. Martin’s “Definition of Marxist Criticism” Link: Bedford/St. Martin’s “Definition of Marxist Criticism” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read the brief overview of Marxist criticism published online by Bedford/St. Martin’s Press.

    Consider the following study questions: What is the primary concern of Marxist criticism? How do Marxists conceptualize social power structures?

    Bedford/St. Martin’s is an academic press that has made available on its website brief definitions and overviews of various critical and theoretical approaches to literature.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyrights and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

1.2.7 Context-Oriented Approaches: New Historicist   - Reading: Bedford/St. Martin’s “Definition of the New Historicism” Link: Bedford/St. Martin’s “Definition of the New Historicism” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read the brief overview of the New Historicism
published online by Bedford/St. Martin’s Press.  

 Consider the following study question: How does the practice of
“New Historicism” differ from that of traditional historical
studies?  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyrights and terms of use
displayed on the webpages above.
  • Lecture: Open Yale Courses: Paul Fry’s “The New Historicism”

    Link: Open Yale Courses: Paul Fry’s “The New Historicism” (Video)

    Instructions: Watch Fry’s lecture on “The New Historicism”, delivered at Yale University in 2009 and now available as part of the Open Yale Courses.

    Watching this lecture should take approximately 1 hour.

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to Paul H. Fry.

1.2.8 Context-Oriented Approaches: Postcolonial Theory   - Reading: Bedford/St. Martin’s “Definition of Postcolonial Criticism”

Link: Bedford/St. Martin’s [“Definition of Postcolonial
Criticism”](http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/virtualit/poetry/critical_define/crit_post.html) (HTML)  

 Instructions: Read this brief overview of postcolonial criticism
published online by Bedford/St. Martin’s Press. As you will see,
postcolonial criticism is a subset of cultural studies and, like
gender studies, focuses on the cultural assumptions and attitudes
underlying literature.  

 Consider the following study question: How might postcolonial
criticism be applied to literature? Can you think of anything you’ve
read that would invite postcolonial criticism?  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyrights and terms of use
displayed on the webpages above.

1.3 Try Your Own Literary Analysis   - Reading: Edgar Allan Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado”

Link: Edgar Allan Poe’s [“Cask of
Amontillado”](http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/POE/cask.html) (HTML)  

 Instructions: Read Poe’s short story. As you read, consider the
following study questions: Are the narrator and Fortunado really
“friends?” What are the connotations of the name “Fortunado?” Is
this name meant to be ironic? Amontillado is a very fine and
expensive sherry. What does Fortunado’s taste in wine say about
him?  

 Terms of Use: Edgar Allan Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado” is in the
public domain.
  • Activity: Conduct Your Own Literary Analysis Instructions: Review the critical approaches described in this unit and choose one that you feel helps provide insight into Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado.”  Then, write a 1-page essay using this critical approach to analyze the short story.