• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


EN502: Transformation of Literary Study (SP12)

Page history last edited by Tonya Howe 12 years, 1 month ago


This term, you'll be learning about the development of modern literary theory; we will read many of the most important critical and cultural theorists of the past 150 years--Marx, Freud, de Saussure, Brooks, Schlovsky, Rubin, Foucault, Fish, Barthes, Derrida, Cixous, Lyotard, Armstrong, Greenblatt, and others. We will learn to use this work to help refine our skills of critical analysis and argumentation. While I have ordered Elizabeth Bishop's Collected Poems and Patricia Highsmith's Strangers on a Train--these will form the basis of our literary readings--you will have the option to include other authors and cultural texts in your work. Weekly theoretical readings will be supplemented by constant writing and reflection on your part, in the form of at least two blog posts per week. Additionally, I will expect you to participate as an active reader and member of a critical community, both on the web and in our classroom.


Collaborative Class Notes in Google Docs


Blog Links


If you really want to print a complete copy of the syllabus, you can find it here. Please note that this version of the syllabus has all the official information on it, and that will stay the same. But, the schedule may change dramatically.


Required Books:

* These books are required; please be sure you have access to them!


  1. Literary Theory: An Anthology, by Rivkin and Ryan (Second Edition) 1405106964
  2. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 1603290249 OR The Craft of Research, Booth 0226065669
  3. The Bedford Glossary of Literary and Critical Terms 0312115601
  4. The Complete Poems, 1927-1979,by Elizabeth Bishop (Apr 1, 1984) 0374518173
  5. Strangers on a Train, by Patricia Highsmith 0393321983


Grade Breakdown:

* Please note what constitutes the highest percentage of your grade.


Two Blog posts per week (30 total): 30%

Seminar Essay: 20% (5%: Presentation)

Discussion Leadership and Participation: 20%

Midterm Essay: 10%

Final Exam: 10%

Other Activities, Homework: 10%




* Please note that this schedule will be updated often--be sure to check it several times a week. Bring your laptop to each class; I encourage you to take notes collaboratively in google docs!


Week 1: No class for us; however, you should read the following from your textbooks

Introduction: Rivkin & Ryan

Eichenbaum, “Introduction to the Formal Method” (skim)

Schlovsky, “Art as Technique”

Brooks, “The Formalist Critics”

Brooks, “The Language of Paradox”

Wimsatt, “The Structure of the 'Concrete Universal'”

Bishop, "The Map" to "A Miracle for Breakfast"

Literary terms as necessary

Additionally, please set up your WordPress blog, and begin posting as per the introductory email.

Optional: Read online materials from Richter, including "Why We Read," "What We Read," and "How We Read." 

Useful links: Tennyson, "The Lady of Shalott" (1842)



Week 2: Jan 23. Have set up your WordPress blog (there are many tutorials available online; we will work on it in class, as well). Bring your laptop. Have written one or two blog posts on your assessment of and response to selected questions raised by the reading. In class, we will discuss your posts and the following:

Introduction: Rivkin & Ryan

Eichenbaum, “Introduction to the Formal Method” (skim)

Schlovsky, “Art as Technique”

Brooks, “The Formalist Critics”

Brooks, “The Language of Paradox”

Wimsatt, “The Structure of the 'Concrete Universal'”

Bishop, "The Map" to "A Miracle for Breakfast"

Literary terms as necessary


Week 3: Jan 30: 

Rivkin & Ryan, Introduction to Rhetoric, Reader Response

Lanham, "Tacit Persuasion Patterns"

Corbett, "Classical Rhetoric"

Frow, "Text and System"

Fish, “Interpretive Communities”

Austin, "How to Do Things with Words"

Fish, “Not So Much a Teaching as an Entangling” [optional]

Barthes, "Mythologies" [structuralism section]
Remainder of North and South in Bishop's Collected Poems


Week 4: Feb 6

Rivkin & Ryan, Introductions to Structuralism

Culler, "The Linguistic Foundation"

de Saussure, "Course in General Linguistics"

Lévi-Strauss, “Anthropology and Myth” {biographical info} <-- Levi-Strauss is OPTIONAL! Well, not universally, but for our purposes this term...

Jakobson, "Two Aspects of Language"

Propp, "Morphology of the Folktale"

Foucault, The Archeology of Knowledge

Bishop, "The Map," "The Imaginary Iceberg," "Crusoe in England"


Week 5: Feb 13, Feb 16

Rivkin and Ryan, Introduction to Deconstruction

Johnson, "Writing"

Heidegger, “Identity and Difference”

Derrida on Deconstruction; on Writing

Derrida, “Différance”

Derrida, “Plato's Pharmacy”

 Derrida, “Of Grammatology” 

Rousseau's language on the supplement

Bishop "Over 2,000 Illustrations and a Complete Concordance," the rest of Cold Spring. Find a structuralist or a post-structuralist/deconstructionist interpretation of EITHER a Bishop poem, or a text that you are otherwise familiar with using the MLA index. Find it, read it, mark it up, and bring it in. You might use this to help you understand the theoretical readings assigned--come prepared to highlight a good example of the application of theory to a literary subject.


Week 6: Feb 20

Nietzsche, "On Truth and Lying"

Cixous, "Newly Born Woman"

Lyotard, "The Postmodern Condition"

Baudrilard, "Simulacra and Simulations"

Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus  (optional) 

"Desire Was Everywhere"  (London Review of Books on Deleuze and Guattari) (optional) 

Essay 1 draft due: From Formalism to Post-Structuralism.

Begin reading Strangers on a Train

Blog post for this week: You might take the opportunity to get some initial thoughts down/feedback on your essay 1 draft!

Workshopping: Bring your laptop and a .DOC or .DOCX version of your draft, as well as questions regarding specific concerns you have about accuracy or precision of the ideas you're working with OR the way you're organizing the theoretical approaches into a narrative.


Week 7: Feb 27 (Alyce's presentation)

Essay 1 due at end of week. See below on peer review.

Rivkin and Ryan, Introduction to Psychoanalysis

Freud, "On the Interpretation of Dreams" (Skim the dream analyses--focus on "The Dream-work," "The work of condensation," "The work of displacement"); "The Uncanny," "Beyond the Pleasure Principle"

Fanon, "The Negro and Psychopathology"

Lacan, "The Mirror Stage"

Chodorow, "Pre-Oedipal Gender Configurations" (optional)

Highsmith: Continue reading; have finished at least half.

No blog post/comment this week! Instead, by Friday at 5:00pm provide comments on three peer drafts via our shared google docs folder. In your comments, offer six (6) substantive positive suggestions for revision, as we discussed and modeled in class. This can involve suggesting:

  • a quote or a paraphrase,
  • a logical connection,
  • an alternative formulation,
  • a re-organization,
  • a transition, and so on.

Then, after you've offered your comments, provide a final comment that addresses style. In particular, what writing habits did you notice that the author might want to examine during the revision process? What citation habits might the author want to revise? The essay is due in class on Monday, in hard copy. Be sure it's polished, conforms to the assignment parameters, and has a clear through line that you've identified!


Friday, March 2, 5:00pm: Midterm Essay due in electronic form to thowe@marymount.edu


Week 8: Spring Break: No Class

Finish Highsmith, Post on Psychoanalysis by Saturday, March 3, and make a comment on a peer's blog over Spring Break.


Week 9: Mar 12 (Jaymi's Presentation)

Introduction: Rivkin & Ryan

Williams, The Country and the City 

Thompson, “Witness against the Beast”

Foucault, Discipline and Punish

Montrose, “Professing the Renaissance”

Armstrong, “Some Call it Fiction: On the Politics of Domesticity”

Greenblatt (optional)

Sundquist (optional)

Blogs as usual!


Week 10: Mar 19


Week 11: Mar 26

(Rebecca's Presentation)

Rivkin & Ryan, Introduction to Political Criticism

Marx (all included selections)

Althusser, "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses"

Žižek, "The Sublime Object of Ideology"

(In class: Watch this YouTube clip from The Pervert's Guide to Cinema offering, in part, a psychoanalytic approach to The Birds)

Sinfield (optional)



Week 12: Apr 2 Easter.

(Rawan's Presentation)

Rivkin & Ryan, Introduction to Feminism
Rubin, "Traffic in Women"

Irigaray, "Power of Discourse in the Subordination of the Feminine"

Gilbert and Gubar, "The Madwoman in the Attic"

Audre Lorde, "Age, Race, Sex, Class: Women Redefining Difference"


Week 13: Easter. Apr 10

(Martinelle's Presentation)

Rivkin & Ryan, Introduction to Gender Studies

Michel Foucault, "The History of Sexuality"

Judith Butler, "Performative Acts and Gender Constitution"

Judith Halberstam, "Female Masculinity"


Week 14: Apr 16

(Thayer's Presentation)

Rivkin & Ryan, Race, Culture, Ethnicity

Ian Haney-López, "The Social Construction of Race"

Shelley Fisher Fishkin, "Interrogating 'Whiteness'"

Toni Morrison, "Playing in the Dark"

Gloria Anzaldua, "Borderlands/La Frontera"

Seminar Essay Proposal Due

Quotes Due: On this collaborative google doc, select four authors and submit at least one representative quotation for each.

Sign up for conferences using Starfish; I will give you more feedback on your blogs and we'll discuss any questions related to the final project you might have. Bring your working thesis and a sentence-level outline.

Relevant contemporary story out of Arizona (click through all the links to learn about the backstory and track down sources!)


Week 15: Apr 23

(Ann's Presentation)

Rivkin & Ryan, "English without Shadows"

Walder, "History" (skim)

Eldridge, "The Revival of the Imperial Spirit"

Said, Introduction to Orientalism  (optional)

Said, "Jane Austen and Empire"

Ngugi, "Decolonising the Mind"

Anne McClintock, "The Angel of Progress: Pitfalls of the Term 'Post-colonialism'"


Want to turn in an annotated bibliography? Turn it in, with your sources, Friday (April 27th, the day of the Bisson Lecture!)


Sign up for conferences using Starfish; I will give you more feedback on your blogs and we'll discuss any questions related to the final project you might have. Bring your working thesis and a sentence-level outline.


Essay drafts here by 5:00pm, Saturday, April 28: https://docs.google.com/a/marymount.edu/open?id=0B5Pznh5YP1aiWnBRa1FDQXJmS00

- Authors: include a full basic draft, as indicated in email, in addition to any specific questions you have.

- Reviewers: make at least 5 substantial suggestions on each of your peers' drafts by classtime on Monday.


Week 16: Apr 30

Workshopping. Take-home exam.


Final exam/presentation period: M (May 7) 6:30pm: Seminar Essay Due, Presentation. Final exams: due Friday, May 11th, at noon (electronically).



Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.