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Engl 483

Engl 483: Literary Theory and Criticism

During the first week, we will construct — through discussion — a description and summary of what we mean by theory, and where it might take us in this class.


 We will begin with an exploration of the following terms: “Theorize,” “Criticize,” and “Experiment.”

For a sampling of what’s in store, see the sample readings and videos below:

BOYLE, ENGL 483, list of readings/viewings for course units

course opener short lit:

Ben Lerner, “Three Prose Poems” and “Mad Lib Elegy”

Amy Hempel, “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried”

From Plato, The Republic, book ii (377-383)

Plato supplement: background on the myths referenced in the Republic

From Plato, The Republic, book vii, Allegory of the Cave/ Sappho’s fragments

Plato supplement, The Matrix  and The Matrix and Philosophy series

Aristotle, Poetics

Aristotle supplement, “Notes on Aristotle”

Kant, selections from the Third Critique, on the Beautiful and the Sublime

Kant supplement, “Why Kant Matters (Less)  to a Digital Age” (Boyle)

Hegel, selection, Self Consciousness A: Independence and Dependence of Self-Consciousness: Lordship and Bondage”

 Marx, “The Fetishism of Commodities and the Secret Thereof” (1867)

Marx Supplement, “The Communist Manifesto Illustrated Through Cartoons”

 Barthes, “Death of the Author”

Barthes Supplement, Chandler’s “Semiotics for Beginners”

and Martha Rosler, Semiotics of the Kitchen (1975)

Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”

Benjamin Supplement, Eric Faden (digital/media essay) “Tracking Theory”

 Derrida, “”Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences”

Derrida supplement, “Post-structuralism and Deconstruction,” from Beginning Theory

Derrida Supplement, Derrida

and Chaplin’s City Lights

Freud, “The Uncanny”

Butler, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution”

Butler supplement, Paris is Burning (1990)

Judith Butler& Sunaura Taylor segment, The Examined Life

hooks, “Is Gender Burning?”

Lacan, “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience”

Lacan supplement, Zizek! 

Foucault, “Panopticism”

Foucault “The Unities of Discourse”

Hayles, “Print Is Flat, Code Is Deep:

The Importance of Media-Specific Analysis”