This course provides an overview of the different approaches and theories in literary studies from classical antiquity until today. The subjects treated include classical poetics, hermeneutics, formalism and reader-response theory, psychoanalysis, structuralism and semiotics, deconstruction and poststructuralism, feminism and queer theory, cultural studies and cultural analysis, and aesthetics and politics.
In this course students are made familiar with the most important theoretical approaches to literature, each of which embodies a different approach to the literary object. In addition, students gain insight into the historical development of these different approaches and the ways in which they relate to one another. The reading material is entirely made up of texts written by the theorists themselves and comprises a number of classics. Students are encouraged to engage with these texts in a personal way, exploring their strengths and limitations by applying them to literary texts as well as film.
Mode of instruction
Weekly reading assignments (no grade);
Two brief writing assignments (10% each);
Midterm writing assignment (20%);
Final paper: 60%.
The final grade is the weighted average of the writing assignments.
ResMa students that take this course will write a paper that reflects the demands of the Research Master. That is, they will have to formulate more complex and original research questions than the MA students, include a critical positioning towards the state of the art of its subject, and produce a longer paper (7000 words including bibliography instead of 5000 words).
Re-examination via a rewritten version of the final paper
Classes; 13 × 3 = 39 hours
Assignments: 2 × 16 + 1 × 16 = 48 hours
Reading texts: 13 × 8 = 104 hours
Final paper: 79 hours
Blackboard is used to inform students and to post assignments, texts, visual material.
Vincent Leitch (ed.), The Norton Anthology of Theory and Literary Criticism. Second, revised edition. New York and London: Norton, 2010
Additional reading material (literature, films) to be announced
Contact / information
For information about the contents of the course contact the instructor, Mr. Prof. dr. F.W.A. Korsten or Mrs. dr. M. Kasten
Otherwise contact the Secretary’s Office for the programmes of Media Studies at P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C, E-mail: .email@example.com.