Introduction to Theory of Literature

Yale Course , Spring 2009 , Prof. Paul H. Fry

Lecture 1: Introduction

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Lecture Details :

Introduction to Theory of Literature (ENGL 300)

In this first lecture, Professor Paul Fry explores the course's title in three parts. The relationship between theory and philosophy, the question of what literature is and does, and what constitutes an introduction are interrogated. The professor then situates the emergence of literary theory in the history of modern criticism and, through an analysis of major thinkers such as Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, provides antecedents for twentieth-century theoretical developments.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction
04:29 - Chapter 2. Theory and Philosophy
10:08 - Chapter 3. What Is Literature?
13:10 - Chapter 4. The Idea of an "Introduction"
18:11 - Chapter 5. Literary Theory and the History of Modern Criticism
32:10 - Chapter 6. The Hermeneutics of Suspicion

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website:

This course was recorded in Spring 2009.

Course Description :

Introduction - Ways In and Out of the Hermeneutic Circle - Configurative Reading - The Idea of the Autonomous Artwork - The New Criticism and Other Western Formalisms - Russian Formalism - Semiotics and Structuralism - Linguistics and Literature - Deconstruction - Freud and Fiction - Jacques Lacan in Theory - Influence - The Postmodern Psyche - The Social Permeability of Reader and Text - The Frankfurt School of Critical Theory - The Political Unconscious - The New Historicism - The Classical Feminist Tradition - African-American Criticism - Post-Colonial Criticism - Queer Theory and Gender Performativity - The Institutional Construction of Literary Study - The End of Theory?; Neo-Pragmatism - Reflections; Who Doesn't Hate Theory Now?

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