10734 Modern Literary and Cultural Theory: An Introduction 1

Credits: 6 intermediate credits in Literature or in Cultural Studies or in Film Studies

Prerequisites: none

Recommended: One course in Literature, as well as An Introduction to Aesthetics, Communication as Culture. Students are advised not to take this course as their first course at the Open University.

Author: Hanna Herzig. The materials also include a translation of Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory, by P. Barry (Manchester UP, 1995); two readers containing expanded reviews of five approaches to literary theory; and critical articles which analyze literary works using the methods of the various approaches.

The course presents schools in modern literary theory, from its establishment as the “science of literature” in the 1920s, up to recent decades when it became a discipline with cultural, social and political aspects applied not only to other artistic areas, but also to fields such as history, philosophy, communication, linguistics and sociology. Acquaintance with developments in contemporary literary and cultural theory can provide an understanding of changes in thinking in the areas of humanities and social sciences.

Topics: Literary-theoretical introduction; Russian formalism; Modern Anglo-American criticism; French structuralism; Post-structuralism and deconstruction; Psychoanalytic criticism; Feminist criticism; Lesbian/gay criticism; Marxist criticism; Postcolonial criticism; Summary – Jonathan Culler, “What is literature and does it matter?”.

1There is overlap in the content of this and other courses. For details, see Overlapping Courses.