Draft Syllabus english 366: Practicing Theories Tue. 1: 30pm to 4: 20pm Bldg. 200 Rm. 201 Professor Mark McGurl

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Draft Syllabus

ENGLISH 366: Practicing Theories

Tue. 1:30pm to 4:20pm Bldg. 200 Rm. 201

Professor Mark McGurl


Office hrs: Tue, Thu noon-1pm and by appt.

Readings available as pdfs on Coursework

Requirements: perfect attendance; 3 short (3-5pp) papers; 8-12pp final paper

Week One (4/3): Introductory and Logistical/Theory After “Theory”

Anker and Felski, Introduction to Critique and Postcritique (2017)

Hayot, “Then and Now” (2017)

Levine, Introduction to Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network (2015)

Week Two (4/10): New Criticism/World Literature

James, “The Figure in the Carpet” (1896); Faulkner, “A Rose for Emily” (1930) Brooks and Warren, “Interpretation” (1943)

Casanova, “Introduction;” “Principles of a World History of Literature”; “The Revolutionaries” (2004)

Guillory, “Ideology and Canonical Form: The New Critical Canon” (1993)

Suggested: Levine, “Whole”
Week Three (4/17): Psychoanalysis/Deconstruction

Poe, “The Purloined Letter” (1844)

Lacan, Seminar on “The Purloined Letter” (1972)

Derrida, “The Purveyor of Truth” (1975)

Johnson, “The Frame of Reference: Poe, Lacan, Derrida” (1977)

Culler, “Deconstruction” esp. sections 4,5 (1982)
Week Four (4/24): Feminism/Cultural Sociology

James, “The Turn of the Screw” (1898)

Felman, “Turning the Screw of Interpretation” excerpts (1977)

Flatley, “Reading into Henry James” (2008)

Bourdieu, “The Artist’s Point of View” (1992)

Week Five (5/1): Marxism/Cultural Studies

Eliot, The Waste Land (1922)

Rainey, “The Price of Modernism” (TK)

North, Introduction and Conclusion to Reading 1922 (2001)

Jameson, “Postmodernism; Or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism” (1984)

Suggested: Jameson, “On Interpretation” (1981)

Suggested: Foucault, “Truth and Power” (1977)
Week Six (5/8): New Historicism/Black Trans-Atlanticism

Melville, “Benito Cereno” (1855); Delany, Blake excerpts (1861)

Sundquist, “Suspense and Tautology in Benito Cereno” (1981)

Sundquist, “Melville, Delany, and New World Slavery” (1993)

Gilroy, “The Black Atlantic as a Counterculture of Modernity” (1993)

Greenblatt, “Resonance and Wonder” (1990)
Week Seven (5/15): Formalism/Queer Theory

James, “The Beast in the Jungle” (1903)

Rahv, “Paleface and Redskin” and “The Cult of Experience” (1939/40)

Tompkins, “An Analysis of James’s Late Style” (1970)

Sedgwick, “The Beast in the Closet” (1986)

Butler, “Subjects of Sex/Gender/Desire” (1990)
Week Eight (5/22): Affect

Melville, Bartleby the Scrivener (1853)

Agamben, “Bartleby, or On Contingency” (trans. 1999)

Deleuze, “Bartleby, or The Formula” (trans. 1997)

Ngai, Introduction to Ugly Feelings (2005)

Research and Destroy, “A Critique of Bartlebyism” (2015)

Berlant, “Cruel Optimism” (2006)

Suggested: Massumi, “The Autonomy of Affect (1995)
Week Nine (5/29): New Materialisms

Lovecraft, “The Call of Cthulhu” (1928)

Harman, “Lovecraft and Philosophy” (2012)

Bennett, “The Force of Things” (2010)

Meillassoux, “Ancestrality” (2006)

Chakrabarty, “The Climate of History: Four Theses” (2009)

Week Ten (6/5): From Postcolonial to Post-critical

Morrison, Beloved (1987)

Bhabha, Introduction to Location of Culture (1994)

Mohanty, “The Epistemic Status of Cultural Identity” (2000)

Love, “Close But Not Deep” (2010)


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