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History of Literary Theory II: “Cultural Logics”

This course will focus on three literary “periods” to investigate the underlying theoretical logics holding distinct cultural systems in place.  We'll read brief theoretical essays by Michel Foucault, Fredric Jameson, and José Ortega y Gassett on the nature of cultural logics.  But our primary focus will be on the systematic interconnections between texts from the Victorian, Modern, and Postmodern periods.  Understanding the logics of these three periods will provide a roadmap to a wide range of literary and cultural developments over the past two hundred years.  We’ll devote special attention to questions about identity, gender difference, and aesthetic form.  Course materials include novels, films, and essays.  We’ll read literary works by Donald Barthelme, Charlotte Brontë, James Joyce, Toni Morrison, Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, Jean Rhys, and Michael Cunningham.  We’ll also discuss three films: True Stories, The French Lieutenant's Woman, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind—which you’ll watch on your own.  One short paper (5-6 pp.), one long paper (10-12 pp.), a midterm, and regular attendance required.

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Statue of "Willie the Silent"