Introduction to Literary Theory

Literary Theory
Literature
Theory
interdisciplinary
analytical and speculative
critique of common sense
reflexive and meta
what distinguishes theory from a guess?
why study theory?
what discourages people from studying theory?
intimidating
unfamiliar fields
unmasterable
open-ended commitment
not to master but to evolve
learn to reflect in new ways
ask different questions
gain a better sense of the implications
process
speculate
challenge
rethink
a reading or interpretation of texts identifying a logic at work in a text
a general framework for thinking about texts and discourses in general
stories, poems, and plays
what is literature?
what makes something literary?
what distinguishes literature from other creative works and other human activities?
what quality do all literary works share?
what makes us treat something as literature?
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
removal from other contexts
responsiveness to interpretation
literariness
what is involved in treating things as literature in a certain culture?
writings
imaginative writing
whatever society treats as literature
not for dissection but for interpretation
literary attention
conventions
hyper-protected cooperative principle
to words
to relationships between words
to implications
to what is said and how it is said
narrative display texts
suspension of demand for immediate intelligibility
language with particular features
features vs consequences
product of conventions and attention
foregrounding of language
integration of language
fiction
aesthetic object
intertextual/self-reflexive construct
functions
be exemplary but universal
provide sense of national greatness
create fellow-feeling among classes
as civilising influence
if it can be anyone, it can be us
if it can happen anywhere, it can happen here
if it happens here, that's because this place is special
make us "better people"
i can identify with people who are not me because of our shared humanity
distract the oppressed by offering vicarious access to a higher region
role in revolution
encourages detachment, passivity, acceptance
promotes questioning of authority, produces sense of injustice
an institution based on the possibility of saying anything you can imagine
why study literature?
cultural capital
encourages resistance to capitalist values
noise and information of culture
Interpretation
objective textual analysis
moral assessment
emotional response
literary evaluation
cultural critique
methods
encounter between reader and text
New Criticism
"well-wrought urn"
Classical
close reading
mirorring
mimetic
expressive
didactic
universe
artist
society
audience
structuralist
post-structuralist
discourse
Plato
Gorgias, Thrasymachus
Aristotle
Horace
Medieval
Hugh of St. Victor
St. Augustine
hermeneutics
exegesis
gloss
commentary
allegory
literal/historical
allegorical/spiritual
tropological/moral
anagogical/mystical
prescriptive poetics
Neoclassical
Renaissance
3 unities
verisimilitude
prescriptive genres
use of the vernacular
new literary forms
national literature
Romantic
focus on the individual
humanising a dehumanised world through symbols
attain the sublime through individual genius
Marxism
society
socioecenomic
cultural spheres
heteroglossia
literature as commodity
co-option of resistance by the market and the media
Psychoanalysis
collective unconscious
archetypes
literature as unconscious material
distortion
censorship of unconscious wishes
psychopoetics
anxiety of influence
écriture féminine
across time
Formalism
Reader Response Theory
meaning as an entity in the text to be discovered
meaning as an experience between the reader and the work
meaning vs significance
Russian Formalism
creative derivation of elements from convention
artful convergence of elements in structure
dispute common sense
encourage suspicion of the given
become more perceptive as a reader
become more careful as a writer
challenge and reorient thinking
gain "moves" and frameworks to use in other topics
how did we get here?
the questioning of presumed results and the assumptions on which they are based
Structuralism and Semiotics
Poststructuralism and Deconstruction
Feminism and Queer Theory
Postcolonial Studies
Cultural Studies and New Historicism
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