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Core curriculum: Introduction to Literary Theory


Admission requirements

Not applicable


This course is part of theHumanties’s core curricula and offers an introduction into the scholarly approach to, and the history and analysis of predominantly European literature. This happens in thirteen steps. After the introduction, important genres and literary concepts are worked out in relation to twelve historical periods in European history and in connection to political core issues. Some example are: fiction and world, identity, authority, open or closed forms of meaning production, intertextuality, form and affect, interest, nation state and the sublime, media, the virtual, representation, hybridity. In this way, students are familiarized with common international modes of periodisation, with the intrinsic relation between aesthetics and politics, or between literature and the political. Next to that they get basic training in the analysis of literary texts, and they acquire an overview of the most important scholarly approaches to literature and art.

Course objectives

Students acquire knowledge in the common periodisation of European and Western literature; they are able to recognize different scholarly approaches to literature/art and are able to position themselves in that field; they can work with basic analytical tools. An equally important aim is that students acquire the tools to be able to work interdisciplinary (literature in connection to politics, philosophy, theology, history, art history, law etc.) or internedially (literature in connection to film, photography, theatre, dance, music etc.).


The timetable is available on the core curriculum website

Mode of instruction

Choose from:
The course follows the format of ‘flipping the class’. Before students come to class they have doe their work at home. They have:

  • watched two mini-lectures on lietary and political core issues, in the context of historical periods, of about ten minutes each.

  • Practiced individually but preferably in groups with analytical prezi-films on a specific literary text.

  • Read one or two small articles that contain an introduction into a scholarly approach of literatre (and art).
    The material is concise and precise, but will nevertheless cause problems and should lead to questions. These will be dealt with in class on the basis of questions of students.

Course Load

Attendance: 24 hours
Looking at lectures, doing the analytical films and reading of the articles: 60 hours
Doing the diagnostic test (midterm): 3 hours
Rehearsing and preparing for the open book exam: 50 hours

Exam: 3 hours

Assessment method

The midterm exam is not graded; it is diagnostic test.
The endterm exam is an open book exam that tests whether and how students are now able to work with the material independently.


Blackboard will be used for:
All the lectures, all analytical flms and all texts are provided through Blackboard.
Blackboard is also used a a medium of communication and updating.

Reading list

  • One small syllabus with all the background texts that are not open source

  • Open source articles

  • Text of the weblectures


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Prof. dr. Frans-Willem Korsten


Not applicable