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Level 6

6AACTL01 Theory of Literature

Credit value: 30
Module convenor/tutor: Professor William Fitzgerald
Teaching pattern: 20 x 2-hour class (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 3-hour exam (100%)

Assessment Pattern for Graduate Diploma students

Assessment: 3 x 3,000-word essays (100%, essays worth 1/3 each)

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand, there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

What is literature and why does it matter? This course will introduce students to thinking about the nature of literature and its place in our world. The first term will be dedicated to reading and discussing some classics of literary theory, both ancient (e.g. Aristotle’s Poetics, Longinus’ On the Sublime, Horace Art of Poetry) and modern (works by Pope, Nietzsche, Wordsworth, T.S.Eliot and others.) The second term will focus on some particular issues, such as “What is a Classic?” and “How should/can we understand ancient literature?

Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these books is not mandatory.

  • T. Eagleton, Literary Theory: An Introduction.
  • D. Russell and M.Winterbottom. eds. Classical Literary Criticism Oxford World’s Classics (1989). Contains translations of all the classical texts we will read.
  • Patricia Waugh, ed. Literary Theory and Criticism. Oxford University Press.
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