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This is a survey of the main trends in twentieth-century literary theory. Lectures will provide background for the readings and explicate them where appropriate, while attempting to develop a coherent overall context that incorporates philosophical and social perspectives on the recurrent questions: what is literature, how is it produced, how can it be understood, and what is its purpose?

 

This course was recorded in Spring 2009.

These Free Lectures are licensed under a Creative Commons License by Yale University.

Course Curriculum

Session 1
Lecture 1: Introduction – Introduction to Theory of Literature Details 00:39:00
Lecture 2: Introduction (cont.) Details 00:47:00
Lecture 3: Ways In and Out of the Hermeneutic Circle Details 00:47:00
Lecture 4: Configurative Reading Details 00:52:00
Lecture 5: The Idea of the Autonomous Artwork Details 00:46:00
Session 2
Lecture 6: The New Criticism and Other Western Formalisms Details 00:50:00
Lecture 7: Russian Formalism Details 00:49:00
Lecture 8: Semiotics and Structuralism Details 00:52:00
Lecture 9: Linguistics and Literature Details 00:50:00
Lecture 10: Deconstruction I Details 00:52:00
Session 3
Lecture 11: Deconstruction II Details 00:53:00
Lecture 12: Freud and Fiction Details 00:51:00
Lecture 13: Jacques Lacan in Theory Details 00:51:00
Lecture 14: Influence Details 00:51:00
Lecture 15: The Postmodern Psyche Details 00:53:00
Session 4
Lecture 16: The Social Permeability of Reader and Text Details 00:50:00
Lecture 17: The Frankfurt School of Critical Theory Details 00:52:00
Lecture 18: The Political Unconscious Details 00:54:00
Lecture 19: The New Historicism Details 00:53:00
Lecture 20: The Classical Feminist Tradition Details 00:52:00
Session5
Lecture 21: African-American Criticism Details 00:54:00
Lecture 22: Post-Colonial Criticism Details 00:55:00
Lecture 23: Queer Theory and Gender Performativity Details 00:50:00
Lecture 24: The Institutional Construction of Literary Study Details 00:51:00
Lecture 25: The End of Theory?; Neo-Pragmatism Details 00:54:00
Lecture 26: Reflections; Who Doesn’t Hate Theory Now? Details 00:50:00

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