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Literary Theory II

Vorlesung, Wintersemester 2015/16

Course Outline

This course offers a survey of the main trends in twentieth-century literary theory. Lectures will provide background for the readings of literary texts. Recurrent questions of these lectures are: what is literature, how is it produced, what is its function and what is its purpose?


In this class we will examine the ways in which we read. Lectures will introduce some of the different strategies of reading, comprehending and engaging with literary texts developed in the twentieth century. We will pay special attention to post-structuralist theories, such as deconstruction, discourse analysis, and New Historicism.

Course Schedule

1: Introduction: Functions of literature
2: What is Discourse analysis ?
3: Foucault’s archeology of knowledge
4: What is a dispositive?
5: Microanalysis of power
6: Practicing deconstruction
7: Deconstruct the deconstructionists
8: Dissemination
9: The pharmakon
10: Derrida and Agamben about humans and animals
11: Agamben’s idea of Openess
12: Current theories
13: Post-Theory
14: New Historicism and cultural poetics
15: Final discussion

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