Readings and Assignments


Note: Readings and assignments are due on the day they are listed on the syllabus. Changes or additions to the readings may occur throughout the semester. These will be announced in class. 



An Introduction, Theoretically

“Theory…is the sort of talk we talk when we have lost our consensus, when nothing ‘goes without saying’…” ~David Richter, Falling Into Theory


T 1/10        Introduction to course: “falling into theory” / Calvin and Hobbes cartoon. Basic questions & theoretical orientations.


Th 1/12      Textual Tours: Lynn, Ch. 1.       



Unifying the Work

“The study of literature means the study of literature, not of biography nor of literary history (incidentally of vast importance), not of grammar, not of etymology, not of anything except the works themselves, v

iewed as their creators wrote them, viewed as art, as transcripts of humanity.” ~ Martin Wright Sampson


T 1/17        From Early Formal Criticism to New Criticism: (De)Authorizing Literary Discourse. Historical survey / Terms and Concepts. Lynn, Ch. 3.        


Th 1/19      New Criticism cont.- /clip from Short Cuts and excerpt from Regents’ Diagnostic Exam – the politics and influence of New Criticism.



Creating the Text

“Unless there is a response on the part of somebody, there is no significance, no meaning.” ~Morse Peckham


T 1/24        Reader-Response Criticism – Terms and Concepts: “Jabberwocky” exercise / negotiation and “transaction.” 


Th 1/26      Class Cancelled



Gendering the Text

“I am already performing a feminine critical act, namely refusing to speak from a position of supposed neutrality and pseudoscientific objectivity.” ~Naomi Schor


T 1/31        Begin The House on Mango Street: reading communities and horizons of expectations.       


Th 2/2        The House on Mango Street cont-. / Assign guidelines for Essay 1. Sex and Gender: nature versus nurture exercise & discussion / basic questions of feminism. Judith Fetterley article summary (due 2/9).



T 2/7         Feminist Criticism – Terms and Concepts. Lynn, Ch. 8. Muriel Rukeyser’s “Myth.”


Th 2/9       Assenting and Resisting Readers: Fetterley and Mango Street.

                 Article Summary due



Literature, Language and Its Structures of Meaning

“[T]he representational sign never seems to occur in isolation from a whole network of other signs...” ~W.J.T. Mitchell, “Representation”


T 2/14        Peer Critique (full draft); **Note** you must bring a completed draft to participate; otherwise, you will be dismissed and counted absent for that day.

Th 2/16      Semiotics & structural analysis: Lynn, Ch. 5. The action hero story: the “grammar” of literary/cultural narratives. Begin Fight Club.


T 2/21        Multiplying Meaning: deconstruction and Fight Club

                   Essay 1 Due 


Th 2/23      Assign guidelines for research paper and proposal.   



Minding the Work

“The unconscious is the discourse of the Other” ~Jacques Lacan


T 2/28        Deconstruction and Fight Club cont.- / wrap-up / brief discussion of midterm.


Th 3/1        Psychoanalytic Criticism: Terms and Concepts. Lynn, Ch. 7.  Film clips: Wit and 25th Hour. Assign guidelines for Essay 2.


 F 3/2         Last day to withdraw with a grade of W           



T 3/6         Midterm Exam (come with a blue book)


Th 3/8       Psychoanalytic readings of Fight Club.



History, Ideology, and the Work

“Ideology is let tenacious as a ‘set of ideas’ than as a system of representations, perceptions, and images that precisely encourages men and women to ‘see’ their specific place in a historically peculiar social formation as inevitable, natural…

there is no such thing as social discourse that is nonideological”  ~James Kavanagh, “Ideology”


T 3/13        Continued-


Th 3/15      Peer Critique (full draft); **Note** you must bring a completed draft to participate; otherwise, you will be dismissed and counted absent for that day.



Mar 17-Mar 24

Spring Break, no classes




T 3/27      Honor’s Convocation (classes cancelled after 1p.m.)

Essay 2 due (drop off at my office no later than 12:30)


Th 3/29     Literary research workshop.



T 4/3         Workshop on research proposal: samples, strategies, etc. Being conversant with secondary sources.


Th 4/5       Discuss documentation and plagiarism. Incorporating outside sources effectively              



T 4/10       Documentation Guidelines Review.

                  Proposal Due


Th 4/12      No Class: Undergraduate Conference. Work on research paper! You may retrieve your graded proposals outside my office door.



T 4/17       Peer Review: Bring one polished copy of your paper. This should include your Works Cited page (due for a daily grade).


Th 4/19      Last day of class: research paper due / final exam /course evaluations.



Th 4/26      Final exam due at my office no later than 11a.m.


Note well:   Grades will be posted to BanWeb following the final exam period. I will not distribute grades via phone or email.