English 496 Dr. Morillo
Seminar in Literary Criticism Tompkins G109
Spring 2013
Office=Tompkins 270; phone: 513-8040
email = morillo@ncsu.edu
web page syllabus = http://www4.ncsu.edu/unity/users/m/morillo/public/496.htm
Office Hours

M W 10-11:30; T 10:30-12 and by appointment


Seminar in Literary Criticism: Classical and Modern Foundations of Theory

About the course:

A selective and intensive rather than a comprehensive or survey-based approach to literary and cultural theory. We will focus on three main foundations of much current theory: classical Greek and Roman ideas about art and literature; Marx's ideas about money, power, and social justice; Freud's ideas about mind and character, and how we mostly fail to achieve Socrates' mandate to know ourselves. We will consider New Historicism as one example of how often Marx and Freud fuse in many modern interpretations of the self, ideology, agency, and language, and culture. After reading primary texts from these key foundational thinkers, students will apply concepts to interpreting specific works of literature, including Joyce's novella The Dead, which you will read independently.

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of the course students should be able to:

Required Texts (books are in NCSU Bookstore; )

Class requirements
: 4 short papers, 50% of the grade:

2 Exams for 35% of the grade:

1 oral presentation (5%):

participation (10%) includes your grades on periodic quizzes, and coming to class prepared, having done the readings and being able to talk and write about them intelligently.

How I Figure Your Grades
Percentages for each required graded category are figured via a percentage of a 12-pt. scale in which an A+ =12 and
an F=0 points. For example, a B+ on paper 1 would net you 9 x .10 or .9 points.  Or, a C on participation nets you 5 x .10 or .5, an A on the final nets you 12 x .15 or 1.8 points.
I then add up the percentage points for each required category to determine your grade from 0 to 12.  For example, an 8.2 final score = B for the class.

You must complete all the required work to pass the class. No opting out of assigned work.  I will grade plus/minus.

Attendance: You are allowed 3 absences. If you are absent, unexcused, more than 3 times over the course of the semester, your absences will count progressively against your final grade, as a significant part --10%--of your final grade. Every 2 absences beyond the allowed 3 loses you a half letter grade.

Instructor's policies on attendance, (excused and unexcused) absences, and scheduling makeup work. As part of their statement, instructors should include the web address to the university Attendance Regulation (REG02.20.03) so that students may be able to access university definitions of excused absences.

Plagiarism: Anyone convicted will receive an F for the paper, or the course at my discretion. And yes, I have caught people in the past--in this course, in fact.

Late Papers: Papers received ONE class session late will be accepted but docked a full grade. No late papers accepted after one class session late.


"Reasonable accommodations will be made for students with verifiable disabilities. In order to take advantage of available accommodations, students must register with Disability Services for Students at 1900 Student Health Center, Campus Box 7509, 515-7653. For more information on NC State's policy on working with students with disabilities, please see the Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities Regulation (REG02.20.01)"

Academic Integrity Assumption
Universities are unique communities committed to creating and transmitting knowledge. They depend on freedom - individuals' freedom to explore ideas and to explore and further their own capabilities. Those freedoms depend on the good will and responsible behavior of all the members of the community, who must treat each other with tolerance and respect. They must allow each other to develop the full range of their capabilities and take full advantage of the institution's resources.

1 Honor Pledge: 
"I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this test or assignment." The syllabus may specify that the Honor Pledge be signed on each test or assignment or that it is the understanding and expectation of faculty that the student's signature on any test or assignment means that the student neither gave nor received unauthorized aid.

M Jan 7
Introduction: What is Literary Theory? Various Views
W Jan 9
Culler I VSI chapters 1-4
M Jan 14
Culler II VSI chapters 5-8
W Jan 16
Classical Foundations: Plato from Republic and Ion pp. 1-17 in CMS
M Jan 21
NO CLASS, King Day
W Jan 24
Aristotle Poetics CMS 18-46
M Jan 28
Paper 1 due
Longinus On the Sublime CMS 47-83
W Jan 31
Horace Art of Poetry CMS 84-96

M Feb 4
Neoclassical & Romantic Poet-Critics: Pope Essay on Criticism 182-199  Glossary of Proper Names in the Poem
Precepts for Critics in Essay on Criticism (in progress)
W Feb 6
Pope cont.
M Feb 11
Shelley Defence of Poetry CMS 287-309
W Feb 13

Shelley Defence of Poetry CMS 287-309

Shelley's critical neoclassicism

F Feb. 15 Paper 2 due no class, paper due as file attachment via email
M Feb 18
II. Modern Foundations: Marx Marx. Tucker, introduction in MER, esp. xxii-xxiii.; HCAL 125-130  Hegel's Philosophy   Marx's Philosophy
W Feb 20
"Theses on Feuerbach" pp. 143-5 in MER; "Estranged Labour" pp. 70-81 in MER    Feuerbach's Philosophy
M Feb 25
W Feb 27
Midterm exam
M Mar 4
Spring break no class
W Mar 6
Spring break no class
M Mar 11

German Ideology, pp. 147-163 in MER

some questions to ponder: Marx starts to bring in what's become a very important key term for many who draw on Marx later, ideology. What is it? Why does it create a kind of imitation that turns the image of the world it reflects upside down? what consequence does this have for interpretation of anything that is ideological?

What for Marx is the very first historical example he gives of a kind of property which depends on one person having power over the labor power of another person? This will become private property later in time. What is interesting about this example? Who keeps whom from being free in it?

What do you think of Marx's brief sketch of life in a communist society? If you have time feel free to press on beyond p. 163 to "Concerning the Production of Consciousness" with some really interesting issues about what "nature" is

W Mar 13
German Ideology, pp. 164-186 ;  Jerome McGann "The German Ideology Once Again," his Afterword to Romantic Ideology (1983)
M Mar 18
Capital 1.1 pp. 302-308 and 319-329
W Mar 20
CMS Eagleton from Marxism and Literary Criticism 525-543
M Mar 25
Marx and Marxism review
W Mar 27
Easter Break   Improving Written Argument
M Apr 1

Paper 3 Application and Interpretation Paper due: Fitzgerald "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz" (short story)


Modern Foundations: Freud . HCAL Psychological approach: Freud 201-208; in The Dead 85-102
   General Introduction, Dream Censor, The Dream Work
"Resistance and Suppression"

W Apr 3
 "The Sexual Life of Man"  "The Development of the Libido" (theory of the Oedipus Complex)    ON OEDIPUS
M Apr 8
 "The Libido Theory and Narcissism"  "Transference"
W Apr 10
M Apr 15

Freud's Arch Reader: Lacan   "The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I as Revealed in Psychoanlytic Experience"   ; Ego and Other

Reading Lacan

Lacan Biography

Zizek Biography

W Apr 17

Marx meets Freud: Ron Thomas "Capitlaizing the Unconscious: 19th-Century Fictional Autobiography"

M Apr 22

Paper 4 Application and Interpretation Paper due: John Clare "I Am" ; Lawrence "The Rocking-Horse Winner" (short story)

Greenblatt introduction to Renaissance Self Fashioning  also read his Epilogue

W Apr 24

Foucault "What is an Author?" CMS 544-558

New Historicism in HCAL 132-138 ; in The Dead 15-163;

M May 6 1pm
final exam : Reading Joyce's The Dead Psychoanalytic Criticism and The Dead 85-124
New Historicism and The Dead 85-102

Please fill out a course evalution online: http://ClassEval.ncsu.edu

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