Advanced Seminar in Literature and Literary Theory

Course NameAdvanced Seminar in Literature and Literary Theory
Course CodeLIT400 / LIT600
DescriptionThe course engages with complex literary texts dating from the early modern era up to the present day, with the overall aim of addressing the relevance of literature for our knowledge of the world. Discussing each text in its historical and social context, it focuses particularly on the ways in which creative writing may be viewed as a form of intervention in society and politics. However, a non-negligible objective of the course is also to demonstrate that literature has always been an art form associated with pleasure, and that this is not mutually exclusive with social or political significance, as technocrats might like to maintain. The theoretical framing of the course is provided by a typology of critical approaches based on the relative importance attributed to the author, reader, reality, and text respectively. The course follows the basic Aristotelian genre categories of fiction, poetry, and drama, paying detailed attention to the creation of meaning within specific literary forms and their traditions. The sessions focused on fiction include basic training in narratological analysis, foregrounding the importance of narrative voice, point of view, and plot structure. The sessions dedicated to poetry involve the basics of poetics, analyzing the use of form and figurative language in the creation of meaning. Finally, the sessions focused on drama examine the importance of production contexts and styles, and zoom in on the positioning and engagement of audiences by playwrights and theatre makers.
Learning OutcomesUpon completion of this course, students should be able to:
– Critically engage with the creation of meaning in complex literary texts;
– Approach literature in the full complexity of a socio-historical context;
– Research literature within a number of different interpretative frameworks;
– Consider literature in its variegated relationship to politics;
– Appreciate the relevance of literature to contemporary reality;
– Communicate their interpretations of literature to peers in discussions and oral presentations, and to a wider audience in essays.
SchoolSchool of Humanities & Social Sciences
LevelBachelor / Master
Number of credits (US / ECTS)3 US / 6 ECTS