online syllabus:

http://people.emich.edu/
acoykenda/511/f07/

electronic reserves:

http://reserves.emich.edu/
(password 511)

class handouts:

http://people.emich.edu/
acoykenda/hand.htm#l511

listserv email:

novel at list.emich.edu

schedule

 

 

Literature 511: Literary Criticism

Fall 2007 

Dr. Abby Coykendall

acoykenda at emich.edu
http://people.emich.edu/acoykenda

Office: Pray-Harrold Hall 603G

Phone: (734) 487-0147 (messages only)
Office Hours: MW 12:15-1:30; Th 1:00-3:30 PM

~ or  email for an appointment ~

Registration #13452

Wednesday 6:30-9:10 PM

 

Literature 511: Literary Criticism

LITR 511 is a course in which we will investigate a wide variety of literary theory, both past and present, paying especial attention to the modes of interpretation and the critical debates that have most influenced current practice in the field.  Literary criticism, and aesthetics more generally, has often held a vexed status within the public realm.  How we read, whom we read, and what we read says as much about our own values (and those of the larger culture) as it does about our facility to accommodate the values of others.  Although reading is itself an ephemeral undertaking, reading theory is even more so.  Theory is situated in an ambiguous and unnerving locale: between ourselves and the text, between others and the text, and ultimately between ourselves and others.  Yet however challenging to read, theory need not be impenetrable or unrewarding.  We will approach our theoretical texts in the same fashion as we approach our primary texts: at once imaginatively and critically.  We will search for sites of affinity as well as sites of ambivalence, recurring motifs as well as recurring problems and paradoxes.  We will begin by briefly surveying the so-called “classics”—selections from Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Poetics—and then move quickly to the some of the giants of modern philosophy such as Marx and Freud, writers who have profoundly shaped the interpretation of literature and the world itself.  We will concentrate on a host of critical methodologies that have arisen in the last few decades—deconstruction, feminism, postcolonialism, queer theory, new historicism, and cultural studies—testing out each of these approaches through an ongoing analysis of a single literary work: Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Texts and Materials

The following books are available at Ned’s bookstore (http://www.nedsbooks.com/emu/; 483-6400; 707 W. Cross St.), although additional copies may be available at other EMU bookstores:

 

 

The Critical Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends. Ed. David H. Richter

(Bedford, 2006; ISBN 0312415206)

Bram Stoker, Dracula.  Ed. John Paul Riquelme

(Bedford, 2001; ISBN 0312241704)

A few required texts are located online through the Electronic Reserves (ER): http://reserves.emich.edu/eres/coursepage.aspx?cid=2268**Make sure to bring a copy of each text that we will be discussing to class, whether it be a book or a handout from the Electronic Reserves.  You will need to have read the assigned material, and have it on hand, for the groupwork and class discussions. 

Assignments & Assessment

Instead of a cumulative final exam, there will be different kinds of homework assignments due almost every week to ensure your ongoing participation and progress over the course of the semester.  These assignments will not only keep you engaged with the array of the materials that we will cover, but also make the class discussions as interactive and as student-centered as possible.  Each group will cycle though one of four assignments as indicated on the Schedule below: 1) an informal response on one of the theorists; 2) a discussion question for your peers to address in class; 3) supplemental reading and/or outside research; or 4) an application of the theory covered that week to Dracula

The List of Group Assignments (http://people.emich.edu/acoykenda/511/groups.htm) specifies which group you are in, and the Weekly Homework Assignments (http://people.emich.edu/acoykenda/511/hmwk.htm) provides more detailed information about the specific assignments.   

35%

Weekly Homework Assignments
& Class Participation

 due dates:

15%

Proposal for Seminar Paper (4 pages)

November 28

10%

Conference Style Presentation on Paper Topic

December 19

40%

Seminar Paper (16-20 pages)

December 19

I strongly recommend consulting with me as early as possible in the semester to identify the topics that you want to pursue in the seminar paper.  That paper constitutes a large proportion of the final grade, with the homework assignments coming in a close second.  The essay will be an analysis of Dracula from the point of view of a single theoretical paradigm (e.g. feminism, deconstruction, marxism, psychoanalysis, new historicism, or postcolonial theory).  In it, you will 1) engage substantially with one major theorist from the paradigm of choice (e.g. Freud for psychoanalysis), incorporating a second essay of that same theorist not already covered in class; 2) draw on at least three different theorists from three other weeks of the course and thus from three different paradigms; and, finally, 3) employ two other theorists from that same paradigm to support the overall argument, theorists also not already covered in class.

Ideally, you will read Dracula once early in the semester to get a feel for the novel as a whole and then re-read portions of it more closely as they are covered in class.  Make sure to take notes for each theorist that you read, paying especial attention how his or her arguments might apply to the novel and be incorporated into your seminar paper.  You can recycle work that you generate through the homework assignments in the seminar paper itself; e.g. by expanding one of your responses into a more formal essay or by using the discussion questions or supplemental reading as a basis for further analysis and research.

Academic Integrity

Any plagiarized writing will automatically result in a failing, zero-percent grade for the assignment.  The general rule is that if you use three or more words of another writer in a row without enclosing those words in quotation marks and acknowledging your source, you are guilty of plagiarism.  See http://www.emich.edu/halle/plagiarism.html for more specific guidelines.  Turning in a paper that you wrote for another course for this course, i.e. recycling the same words for double credit, also constitutes academic dishonesty at EMU.

Attendance

Because this course primarily consists of reading and discussion — rather than facts, figures, or memorization — attendance is crucial.  According to department policy, students who miss more than two weeks of class will not be eligible to pass.

 

Schedule

Unless indicated otherwise, all materials are located in The Critical Tradition.  Texts marked “ER” are in the Electronic Reserves, and the remaining texts are in the Bedford edition of Dracula.

Week One (September 5)

Introduction to Course; Student Introductions; Conjectural Response.

Week Two (September 12): Classics

Theorists: Aristotle, Poetics; Plato, “Allegory of the Cave” [ER]; Longinus, On the Sublime

Primary Text: Bram Stoker, Dracula (3-64)

Optional Theorist: Plato, Republic, Book X

HOMEWORK: Group 1 Response; Group 2 Discussion Question; Group 3 Research; Group 4 Application

Week Three (September 19): Formalism and Reader Response

Theoretical Overview: “Reader Response Theory” (Critical Tradition 962-78)

Theorists: Matthew Arnold, “Function of Criticism”; Harrold Bloom, “Elegiac Conclusion” [ER]; Judith Fetterley, Resisting Reader

Primary Text: Bram Stoker, Dracula (64-125)

Optional Theorist: Gerald Graff, “Disliking Books at an Early Age” [ER]

HOMEWORK: Group 2 Response; Group 3 Discussion Question; Group 4 Research; Group 1 Application

Week Four (September 26): Psychoanalysis

Theoretical Overview: “What is Psychoanalytic Criticism?” (Dracula 466-77)

Theorists: Sigmund Freud, “Creative Writers and Daydreaming” and “The ‘Uncanny’”; Jacques Lacan, “Mirror Stage”

Primary Text: Bram Stoker, Dracula (125-86)

Optional Theorist: Freud, “The Dream Work”

HOMEWORK: Group 3 Response; Group 4 Discussion Question; Group 1 Research; Group 2 Application

Week Five (October 3): Psychoanalytic Schools

Theorists: Jacques Lacan, “Meaning of the Phallus”; Hélène Cixous, “Laugh of the Medusa” (with Freud, “Medusa's Head”); Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror [ER]

Primary Text: Bram Stoker, Dracula (186-248)

Optional Theorist: Slavoj Zizek, “Courtly Love; or Woman as Thing”

HOMEWORK: Group 4 Response; Group 1 Discussion Question; Group 2 Research; Group 3 Application

Week Six (October 10): Structuralism and Deconstruction

Theoretical Overview: “What is Deconstruction?” (Dracula 500-12)

Theorists: Ferdinand de Saussure, “Nature of the Linguistic Sign”; Jacques Derrida, “Structure, Sign and Play”; Paul de Man, Semiology and Rhetoric

Primary Text: Bram Stoker, Dracula (248-310)

Extra: “Grad Student Deconstructs Take-Out Menu” from The Onion [ER]

Optional Theorist: Roland Barthes, “Striptease” and Death of the Author

HOMEWORK: Group 1 Response; Group 2 Discussion Question; Group 3 Research; Group 4 Application

Week Seven (October 17): Marxism

Theoretical Overview: “What is Marxist Criticism?” (Dracula 466-77)

Theorists: Karl Marx, “Meaning of Human Requirements” [ER]; Marx, “Alienation of Labor”; Louis Althusser, Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses

Primary Text: Bram Stoker, Dracula (310-69)

Optional Theorist: Karl Marx, “Consciousness Derived”

HOMEWORK: Group 2 Response; Group 3 Discussion Question; Group 4 Research; Group 1 Application

Week Eight (October 24): Marxist Schools

Theorists: Walter Benjamin, “Work of Art”; Adorno and Horkheimer, Culture Industry; Raymond Williams, Marxism and Literature.

Literary Criticism: Franco Moretti, “Capital Dracula” [ER]

Riquelme, “Doubling and Repetition” (Dracula 518-37)

HOMEWORK: Groups 1-2 write response interpreting Dracula from a psychoanalytic point of view, and Groups 3-4 write response interpreting Dracula from a deconstructionist point of view, each quoting one Marxist theorist covered in Week Eight and one theorist from their respective schools.

Week Nine (October 31): Feminism

Theoretical Overview: “What is Gender Criticism?” (Dracula 434-45)

Theorists: Gilbert and Gubar, “Woman Writer”; Monique Wittig, “One Is Not Born a Woman”; Luce Irigaray, “Women on the Market” [ER]

Literary Criticism: Eltis, “Corruption of the Blood” (Dracula 450-65)

Optional Theorist: Toril Moi, Sexual/Textual Politics

HOMEWORK: Group 3 Response; Group 4 Discussion Question; Group 1 Research; Group 2 Application

Week Ten (November 7): Gender Studies and Queer Theory

Theorists: Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality; Michael Warner and Lauren Berlant, “Sex in Public”; Judith Butler, “Imitation and Gender Insubordination”

Literary Criticism: Foster, “‘Little Children’” (Dracula 483-99)

Christopher Craft, “Kiss Me with Those Red Lips” [ER]

Optional Theorist: Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Between Men and Epistemology of the Closet

HOMEWORK: Group 4 Response; Group 1 Discussion Question; Group 2 Research; Group 3 Application

Week Eleven (November 14): Postcolonial Theory

Theoretical Overview: Begin “Postcolonialism and Ethnic Studies” (Critical Tradition 1753-69)

Theorists: Edward Said, Orientalism; Homi Bhabha, “Signs Taken for Wonders”; Gayatri Chakravorti Spivak, “Three Women's Texts”

Literary Criticism: Stephen Arata, “Occidental Tourist” [ER]

Optional Theorist: Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities

HOMEWORK: Group 1 Response; Group 2 Discussion Question; Group 3 Research; Group 4 Application

 Week Twelve (November 21): Ethnic Studies

Theoretical Overview: Finish “Postcolonialism and Ethnic Studies” (Critical Tradition 1769-74)

Theorists: Henry Louis Gates, Jr., “Writing, ‘Race,’ and the Difference It Makes”; Toni Morrison, “Black Matter(s)”; Rey Chow, “Interruption of Referentiality”

Primary Materials: “Contextual Illustrations and Documents” (Dracula 370-406)

Optional Theorist: Barbara Smith, “Toward a Black Feminist Criticism”

HOMEWORK: Group 2 Response; Group 3 Discussion Question; Group 4 Research; Group 1 Application

Week Thirteen (November 28): NO CLASS (Individual Conferences in 603G)

HOMEWORK: Research Proposal due during Conference; Check Conference Schedule (http://people.emich.edu/acoykenda/511/confer.htm)

Week Fourteen (December 5): New Historicism and Cultural Studies

Theoretical Overview: “What is New Historicism?” (Dracula 500-12)

Theorists: Stuart Hall, “Cultural Studies”; Nancy Armstrong, “Some Call It Fiction”; John Guillory, Cultural Capital

Literary Criticism: Castle, “Ambivalence and Ascendancy” (Dracula 518-37)

Optional Theorist: Michel Foucault, “What Is an Author?”

HOMEWORK: Group 3 Response; Group 4 Discussion Question; Group 1 Research; Group 2 Application

Week Fifteen (December 12): Postmodernism

Theorists: Frederic Jameson, “Postmodernism and Consumer Society”; Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulations; Donna Haraway, “Cyborg Manifesto”

Literary Criticism: Wicke, “Vampiric Typewriting” (Dracula 577-99)

Optional Theorist: bell hooks, “Postmodern Blackness”

HOMEWORK: Group 4 Response; Group 1 Discussion Question; Group 2 Research; Group 3 Application

Week Sixteen (December 19): Research Presentations (Seminar Papers Due)  

 

[Syllabus last modified September 5, 2007]