Edmund Husserl, "Philosophy
and the Crisis of European Man"
Jacques Derrida, "Plato's Pharmacy"
Jacques Lacan, "Seminar on the Purloined Letter"
Hélène Cixous, "Veils"
We may also select from any of
Kant, "Perpetual Peace”
Allan Poe, The Portable Edgar Allan Poe.
Duchamp. The Bride
Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass).
Loy, The Lost Lunar Baedeker
Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle.
Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel.”
Blanchot, “Literature and the Right to Death.”
Adorno and Max Horkheimer, “The Culture Industry as Mass Deception.”
and Weaver, The Mathematical Theory of
Wiener, On the Human Use of Human Beings
L. Austin, How to do Things with Words.
Levinas, from Totality and Infinity
Heidegger, “The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking”
Derrida, “The End of the Book and the Beginning of Writing”
Derrida. “Signature Event Context,” in Margins
Bloom, “The Breaking of Form.”
Derrida, Adieu to Emmanuel Levinas.
The Politics of Aesthetics
Stiegler, Technics and Time III.
Helen Cixous, Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing.
Aristarkhova, Hospitality of the Matrix:
Philosophy, Biomedicine, and Culture.
Wim Wenders. Kings of the Road.
“Aesthetics and Politics.”
Virilio. The Aesthetics of Disappearance.
Classical Literary Criticism (Oxford
“The Defence of Poesy” and Selected Renaissance Literary Criticism (Penguin Classics)
de Montaigne, “On Experience”
Bysshe Shelly, “Defence of Poetry”
Texts will be made available during the
course, which draws on a range of materials.
These will generally be written but they may include visual culture and
music. But the most important texts for
the course are critical. You should
familiarize yourself with introductions as well as seminal articles in the
field of literary and critical theory, like those found in the Wolfreys volume (see below). More of them can be found in several other
available “readers” in the field, the best of which are listed below. The more you access and the earlier, the better
you will be able to work with the material.
Careful and patient study of these texts will help you appreciate and
understand the wide ranging and exciting possibilities
of critical reading.
Literary Theory is a fascinating and
enjoyable topic in its own right. For
the purposes of this course you should consider it as your primary focus. If you consider it merely as a tool for
approaching literary (or other kinds of) texts you will fail to do it
Peter. Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory.
Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996.
Geoff and Jacques Derrida. Jacques Derrida. Chicago: Chicago University Press,
Jacques. The Derrida Reader: Writing Performances. Ed. Julian
Wolfreys. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University
Jacques. Acts of Literature. Ed. Derek Attridge. London: Routledge, 1992.
Ellman, Maud, ed. Psychoanalytic Literary Criticism.
London: Longman, 1994.
Featherston, Mike, Couze Venn,
Ryan Bishop and John Phillips, eds. Problematizing
Global Knowledge. London: Sage, 2006.
Paul. Historicism. London: Routledge, 1996.
David. Ideology. London: Routledge, 1996.
Michael. Reading Theory. Oxford: Blackwell, 1993.
John. Contested Knowledge: A Guide to Critical theory. London: Zed, 2000.
Nicholas. Jacques Derrida. London: Routledge, 2003.
Sue, ed. Psychoanalytic Criticism: A Reader. Cambridge: Polity, 1994.
Wolfreys, Julian. Deconstruction•Derrida.
London: Macmillan, 1998.
Cahoone, Lawrence, ed. From
Modernism to Postmodernism: An Anthology.
Oxford: Blackwell, 1996.
Vincent B. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism.
New York & London: Norton, 2001.
This is by far the most ambitious attempt at a definitive anthology of
theory and criticism. It provides
articles from the Ancient Greeks to some very recent ones (e.g., on
hypertext). Remember, though, there’s no
such thing as completion—already the critics have been savage about its omissions.
Philip and Patricia Waugh, eds. Modern Literary
Theory: A Reader. 4th Edition. London: Arnold, 2001. Publishes some of the “seminal texts”
alongside some of the contemporary developments and debates that the seminal
texts have engendered.
Rivkin, Julie and Michael Ryan, eds.
Literary Theory: An Anthology. Revised
Edition. Oxford: Blackwell, 1998.
Thorough and sensibly ordered, this contains most of what you would need
to know for a good overview of the history of modern literary theory.
Wolfreys, ed. Literary Theories: A Reader and Guide.
New York: New York Universities Press, 1999.
This is an intelligent and coherent collection of key essays in literary
theory with a thoroughly contemporary understanding of their significance:
recommended not only for its texts but also for its introductions and editorial
Cultural Theory and Popular Culture. Hemel Hempstead:
Harvester, 1994. This contains much of
what you need to know to make an intellectual engagement with popular culture.
Terry and Drew Milne, eds. Marxist
Literary Theory. Oxford: