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Literary Theory OMG! Paweł Stachura 321A, Mon. 0945 a.m. - 1115 a.m.

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Presentation on theme: "Literary Theory OMG! Paweł Stachura 321A, Mon. 0945 a.m. - 1115 a.m."— Presentation transcript:

1 Literary Theory OMG! Paweł Stachura 321A, Mon a.m a.m.

2 Housekeeping information Credits: no attendance 10 questions, 6/4 (4 for lecture) 60% passes

3 Fachliteratur (i.e. Bibliography): Anthologies Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Literary Theory: An Anthology. Malden: Blacwell, 2004 Robert Con Davis and Donald Schleifer. Contemporary Literary Criticism. London: Longman, Literary Criticism and Theory: The Greeks to the Present. London: Longoman, Peter Brooker. Modernism/Postmodernism. London: Longman, David Lodge and Nigel Wood. Modern Literary Criticism and Theory. London: Pearson Longman, 2008

4 Bibliography (2): Histories René Wellek. A History of Modern Criticism: (5 vol.) New Haven: Yale UP, George Watson. The Literary Critics: A Study of English Descriptive Criticism. London: Chatto&Windus, H.B. Nisbet (ed.) The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism. (9 vol.) Cambridge UP,

5 Bibliography (3): Textbooks Robert Scholes. Structuralism in Literature: An Introduction. New Haven, Yale UP, Rene Wellek and Austin Warren. Theory of Literature Richard Harland. Literary Theory from Plato to Barthes. London: MacMillan, ‘Introduction’ books: Terry Iggleton, Jonathan Culler etc.

6 Bibliography (4): original texts Paul Ricoueur. Freud and Philosophy: An Essay on Interpretation. New Haven: Yale UP, Hans Robert Jauss. Historia literatury jako prowokacja dla teorii literatury, Warszawa: IBL, Roman Ingarden. The Literary Work of Art. (Dzieło literackie) 1938, Northrop Frye. Anatomy of Criticism. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1957.

7 Topic areas: 20 th Century !9 th Century background: Historicism, Geistgeschichte, positivism, biographical and social determinism (1 lecture) Masters of the hermeneutics of suspicion: Marx, Nietzsche, Freud (3 lectures)

8 Topic Areas: 20 th Century (2) Heritage of the masters of suspicion (modernism and post– schools) – psychoanalytical criticism – modern Marxism and New Historicism (!) – postcolonialism and ethnic criticism – feminist criticism (– critical poststructuralism: Barth, Derrida, Foucault) Heritage of historicist thought: continuations and revisions (problematically) – Geistgeschichte and hermeneutics (Dilthey, Ingarden, Hirsch, Iser, Jauss) – external determinism vs ‘intristic’ (formalist) criticism – historicist genology vs continuity of tradition (Bakhtin, Curtius, Eliot, Bloom) – naive mimesis vs modern theories of mimesis (Auerbach) – history of rhethorics vs modern narratology (Jakobson, Barthes, Genet) – biographical criticism vs reader-response (Ingarden, Hirsch, Iser, Jauss) In all: 15 lectures, 1 in reserve (brackets)

9 End of the 19 th Century Historicism (historical determinism) – blooming of historiography: Hegel, Ranke, Michelet, Lelewel, Travelyan, Prescott – causality and choice of determinants: spiritual (Geistgeschichte, leading idea), materialistic (positivism) – choice of metaphors: biological (development of a nation, alien elements etc.) - development (modernity) vs periodization: Ranke, Gervinus

10 Historicism in literary theory – work as product of society (nation) – work as historical document – does national literature ‘develop’?: determinants and metaphors: epochs, spirits, expressions – consequences: national histories of literature, periodization, problematization and leading ideas, genology and favoured genres, value of representativity, canon, ‘externality’ of description, adoption of ‘positivist superstitions’

11 Examples Georg Gottfried Gervinus, Geschichte der poetischen Nationalliteratur der Deutschen, 1835–42. – the term Geistgeschichte, periodization, leading ideas, exemplarity of epochs Geistgeschichtge = history of ideas Wilhelm Scherer, Geschichte Deutschen Literatur, – external economic determinism

12 Examples (2) Vladimir Strakhov, The Struggle with the West in Our Literature, – single leading idea Edmund Gosse, A History of French Literature, – genius and/or spirit (of feudalism, of the Church etc.) William Peterfield Trent (ed.), The Cambridge History of American Literature, – external political determinism: e.g. Parrington’s comment about Puritans

13 Examples (3) Karl Hildebrand, German Thought from the Seven Years’ War to Goethe’s Death, Perry Miller, The New England Mind, 1939, – (Geistgeschichte) Puritan theology as determinant Maria Kuncewiczowa, The Modern Polish Mind, – recent example of Geistgeschichte (catalogue of leading ideas as layout for anthology) Andrzej de Lazari, Ideas in Russia, 1999.

14 Hippolyte Adolphe Taine (1828–1893) Reponse to theoretical problems of historicism History of English Literature 1864 race – milieu – moment (Joseph Arthur de Gobineau) (Geoffroy Saint–Hillaire and Balzac) (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel) Taine’s choices of determinants: materialism and/or leading ideas (Geistgeschichte)

15 Application: positivist criticism Eneas Sweetland Dallas, Poetics, 1852 George Eliot, ‘Silly Novels by Lady Novelists’ 1856 Matthew Arnold, ‘The Function of Criticism at the Present Time’ 1965 Emilé Zola, Le Roman Experimental, (Claude Bernard, Introduction a l’etude de la medicine experimentale, 1865.)

16 ‘Positivist superstitions’ ‘silly novels’: literature must be useful… …and it is useful when it is realistic… …and then it becomes ‘truly’ moralizing literature can be ‘seen as it really is’ (Ranke, Gervinus, Arnold) literature, in turn, ‘reflects’ things as they really are above all, literature ‘reflects’ a ‘development’ of a nation there is a deterministic relation between nation and its literature

17 ‘Objectivity’ SUBJECT OBJECT KNOWLEDGE LINGUISTIC STORAGE AND TRANSMISSION SUBJECT Zoology Zoology textbook etc. History of English Cow English literature ?????? SUBJECT HISTORY? ?! ? History textbook ?!

18 Heritage of historicist and positivist determinism history of ideas, leading ideas of national literatures genology understood as historical development; rise and primacy of the novel ‘grand narratives’ of national literary histories naive notions of literature ‘in’ society: canon wars, educational fantasies

19 Objections 1. Primitive notions of mimetic representation (reflective, transparent) 2. Disregard of creative imagination and individual genius (determinants or reflective representation) 3. Disregard of history of ideas (positivist school of material and social determination) 4. Disregard and ignorance of literary traditions 5. In extreme cases: no interest in artistic quality or even content of text

20 Reactions (20th century) 1. Hermeneutics of suspicion (followers of Marx, Nietzsche, Freud) 2. Theories of imagination (aesthetic criticism, return to Romanticism) OR theories of mimesis 3. Hermeneutics (espeicially Dilthey) 4. Eliot, Curtius etc. 5. The main objection to historicism, voiced by formalists (Eliot, Rye), who concentrated on ‘what the text says’ ahistorically

21 Hermeneutics of suspicion Paul Ricoueur. Freud and Philosophy: An Essay on Interpretation. New Haven: Yale UP, Marx – Nietzsche – Freud

22 Geistgeschichte (national schools) Positivism (psychological or economic) (Combined) NietzscheMarxFreud !!! ??? StructuralismStructuralism Culture studies ''Postmodernism'' Hermeneutics Contemporary political criticism

23 Now when Lucifer sought after the Mother of Fire in his Centre, and thought to reign therewith over the Love of God and all the Angels, and when Adam also desired to try in the Essence what the Mother or Root was from whence Evil and Good did spring, and purposely brought his Desire thereinto, in order to become knowing and full of Understanding thereby: Both Lucifer and Adam were captivated in their evil or false Desire in the Mother, and broke off themselves from Resignation which proceeds from God, and so were caught by the Spirit of the Will, by the Desire in the Mother. Which Desire immediately got the Dominion in Nature; and so Lucifer stuck fast in the wrathful Source of Fire, and that Fire became manifest in the Spirit of his Will, whereby the Creature in its Desire became an Enemy to the Love and Meekness of God. Jacob Boehme, The Way to Christ, 1622.


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