G-LSUD6 TheRes386 Theoretical Perspectives and Literary Texts

Course type



Although literary theory has changed the way we read and approachliterature, students are usually intimidated by itand they avoid it. This course aims to show how accessible and exciting literary theory actually is, by drawing attention to the ways in which it can illuminate literary texts and thus enhance our understanding, appreciation, and, above all, enjoyment of them.By the end of the course students will not only be more attentive and insightful readers but they will also come to the realization that the interpretation and analysis of literature from various perspectives ultimately deepens our understanding of ourselves as well.More specifically, this course explores theories of reading and ways of engaging with texts that have been developed during the last centuries, ranging from Formalism and Marxism, to Psychoanalysis and Deconstruction. Students will be familiarized with key terms, concepts and schools of literary and critical analysis and they will be introduced to contemporary critical debates and questions of interpretation. The central questions to be addressed will be: how do texts work, what is their value, in what ways do they interact with society, ideology and history, what hidden truths do they contain and how can we unlock them, can we approach them objectively, and in what ways do these texts differ from other forms of writing? Each week a particular interpretive approach will be explored by being applied to a literary text(some films, music videos, popular songs, commercials and animations will also be employed) as a means not only of seeing theory in action, but also of discussing each theoretical model’s merits and shortcomings. Some of the texts to be studied will be C. Levi-Straus’ «The Structural Study of Myth,» S. Freud’s «The Unconscious,» R. Williams’ «Ideology,» J. Derrida’s «Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences» and J. Baudrillard’s «Simulacra and Simulation,» while these texts will be applied to a wide range of literary texts like Shakespeare’s King Lear, Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Turn,” and Shelley’s Frankenstein, to name but a few. Expected learning outcomes -ability to apply accurately the basic terms and concepts of literary and critical analysis in order to illuminate texts -understanding of the aims of each approach to literature and of the major differences between them -ability to discuss and evaluate contemporary debates raised by modern literary theory -development of analytical skills and sensitivity towards literature Course outline/ Reading list is available Assessment method: a number of in-class presentations (optional), an MLA-styled research paper (optional), and a comprehensive, essay-type exam at the end.


Teaching hours: 3 | Credits: 3 | ECTS: 6

The course is not currently offerred.

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