Reading List 9: General Theory

Faculty Committee: Bernadette Andrea, Alan Liu, Mark Maslan, Christopher Newfield, Rita Raley, Glyn Salton-Cox, Russell Samolsky, William Warner

All works from the following list (except the full-length books specified at the end and those marked with an *) are from David H. Richter, The Critical Tradition:  Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends, 3rd ed. (Bedford, 2006).  for help in creating a "cognitive map" of the history of theory, students should also consult such texts as M. H. Abrams's A Glossary of Literary Terms, Raymond Wiliams's Keywords, Rene Wellek's A History of Modern Criticism, and other anthologies of theory such as Hazard Adams, Critical Theory Since Plato  (2d ed).  Those marked with a cross (+) are digitized and available online, consult with the Staff Graduate Adviser.

From Part One of the Richter anthology:

Plato, Republic, Book X +
Aristotle, Poetics +
Horace, The Art of Poetry +
Longinus, On the Sublime +
Sir Philip Sidney, An Apology for Poetry +
Aphra Behn, Preface to The Lucky Chance +
Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism +
Samuel Johnson, from “Preface to Shakespeare” +
David Hume, Of the Standard of Taste +
Immanuel Kant, from Critique of Judgement +
William Wordsworth, Preface to Lyrical Ballads +
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, from Biographia Literaria +
John Keats, from Letter to George and Thomas Keats +
Percy Bysshe Shelley, A Defence of Poetry +
G. W. F. Hegel, Introduction to the Philosophy of Art +
Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Poet +
Matthew Arnold, The Function of Criticism at the Present Time +
Friedrich Nietzsche, from The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music and Part I, On the Genealogy of Morals (*) +
Henry James, The Art of Fiction +
T.S. Eliot, Tradition and the Individual Talent +
W.E.B. Du Bois, from The Souls of Black Folk +
Mikhail Bakhtin, from Discourse in the Novel (“Heteroglossia”) +
Virginia Woolf, Shakespeare’s Sister from A Room of One’s Own +
Martin Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology (*) +
Kenneth Burke, Literature as Equipment for Living +
J.L. Austin, from How to Do Things with Words +
Simone de Beauvoir, Myths: Of Women in Five Authors +
Northrop Frye, The Archetypes of Literature +
Erich Auerbach, Odysseus’ Scar +

From Part Two of the Richter anthology:

1. Formalisms
Victor Shklovsky, “Art as Technique” +
W.K. Wimsatt and Monroe C. Beardsley, “The Intentional Fallacy” +
Cleanth Brooks, “Irony as a Principle of Structure” +

2. Structuralism, Semiotics, and Deconstruction
Ferdinand de Saussure, “Nature of the Linguistic Sign” +
Claude Lévi-Strauss, “The Structural Study of Myth” +
Roland Barthes, “The Death of the Author” +
Michel Foucault, “What is an Author?”
Jacques Derrida, “Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences” +
Paul de Man, from Blindness and Insight (chapter 1) and “The Resistance to Theory” (*)

3. Reader-Response Criticism
Wolfgang Iser, “The Reading Process: A Phenomenological Approach” +
Hans Robert Jauss, “The Three Stages of Interpretation” +

4. Psychoanalytic Theory
Sigmund Freud, “The Uncanny” (*) and “Mourning and Melancholia” (*) +
Jacques Lacan, “The Mirror Stage and “The Agency of the Letter in the Unconscious or Reason since Freud” +
Harold Bloom, “A Meditation upon Priority” +
Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” +

5. Marxist Criticism
Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” +
Louis Althusser, from Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses +
Raymond Williams, from Marxism and Literature +
Fredric Jameson, from The Political Unconscious +

6. New Historicism and Cultural Studies
Clifford Geertz, “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” (*) +
Pierre Bourdieu, from Distinction +
Stephen Greenblatt, “Invisible Bullets” (*) +
John Guillory, from Cultural Capital: The Problem of Literary Canon Formation +

7. & 8. Feminist Literary Criticism/Gender Studies and Queer Theory
Julia Kristeva, “Women’s Time”
Hélène Cixous, “The Laugh of the Medusa” +
Luce Irigaray, “This Sex Which Is Not One” (*) +
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, from Epistemology of the Closet +

9. Postcolonialism and Ethnic Studies
Edward W. Said, from the Introduction to Orientalism +
Gayatri Spivak, “Can the Subaltern Speak?” (*) +
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., “Writing, ‘Race,’ and the Difference It Makes” +

10. Theorizing Postmodernism
Jean Baudrillard, from The Precession of Simulacra +
Jürgen Habermas, “Modernity versus Postmodernity” +
Fredric Jameson, “Postmodernism and Consumer Society”
Donna Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto” +

Separate books:

Karl Marx, Capital (Part I of Vol. I) +
Sigmund Freud, Interpretation of Dreams (Chapters II-IV, VI, VII)
Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology (pp. 1-165) and The Gift of Death (Chapter 3)
Roland Barthes, S/Z (pp. 3-33, 221-54)
Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Vol. I
Jean-Francois Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition (concluding essay: “Answering the Question: What is Postmodernism?”) +
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (chapters 1-2, 14) +
Judith Butler, Gender Trouble and Precarious Life: The Power of Mourning and Violence (Chapters 1-2) +
Giorgio Agamben,  Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (Introduction, Part 3) +

 

Revised 6/07