C LIT 400 A: Introduction to Theory and Criticism

Spring 2024
TTh 11:30am - 1:20pm / MGH 085
Section Type:
Joint Sections:
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):

Comparative Literature 400 / Global Literary Studies 450

Imitation and Authorship:  From Aristotle to A.I.

This course will offer an overview of literary theory from classical antiquity to the present through an exploration of the evolving history of two fundamental and defining concepts: imitation and authorship.  In recognition of the expansiveness of this topic, we will focus on a curated selection of texts from four key moments in the Western tradition.  Our journey will commence with the ancients, writers like Plato and Aristotle, whose ideas about poetry serve as a touchstone for literary theorists and critics up to the present.  We will next jump several centuries to consider how these classical ideas—and the notion of “imitation” in particular—are transformed at the dawn of the modern period through an exploration of selected readings by the likes of Dante, Cervantes, and Montaigne.  From there, we will move on to the turn of the nineteenth century when the emergence of European Romanticism initiates a revolution in thinking about the creative process.  Finally, our overview of earlier approaches to literary analysis will provide us with a historically informed perspective from which to consider developments in contemporary theories of literary production.  

Catalog Description:
A selection of major theoretical statements in the history of literary theory and criticism, with texts drawn from such fields as literary studies, aesthetic theory, film studies, philosophy, and cultural studies.
GE Requirements Met:
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Last updated:
April 14, 2024 - 5:02 am