Literary Theory - Video
By Paul H. Fry
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(ENGL 300) This is a survey of the main trends in twentieth-century literary theory. Lectures will provide background for the readings and explicate them where appropriate, while attempting to develop a coherent overall context that incorporates philosophical and social perspectives on the recurrent questions: what is literature, how is it produced, how can it be understood, and what is its purpose? This course was recorded in Spring 2009.
|1||Video01 - Introduction||In this first lecture, Professor Paul Fry explores the course's title in three parts. The relationship between theory and philosophy, the question of what literature is and does, and what constitutes an introduction are interrogated. The professor ...||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|2||Video02 - Introduction (cont.)||In this second introductory lecture, Professor Paul Fry explores the interrelation of skepticism and determinism. The nature of discourse and the related issue of discursivity is read through two modern works, Anton Chekov's Cherry Orchard and Henry ...||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|3||Video03 - Ways In and Out of the Hermeneutic Circle||In this lecture, Professor Paul Fry examines acts of reading and interpretation by way of the theory of hermeneutics. The origins of hermeneutic thought are traced through Western literature. The mechanics of hermeneutics, including the idea of ...||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|4||Video04 - Configurative Reading||The discussion of Gadamer and Hirsch continues in this lecture, which further examines the relationship between reading and interpretation. Through a comparative analysis of these theorists, Professor Paul Fry explores the difference between meaning and s||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|5||Video05 - The Idea of the Autonomous Artwork||In this lecture, Professor Paul Fry explores the origins of formalist literary criticism. Considerable attention is paid to the rise and subsequent popularity of the New Critics and their preferred site of literary exploration, the "poem." The idea of ...||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|6||Video06 - The New Criticism and Other Western Formalisms||In this second lecture on formalism, Professor Paul Fry begins by exploring the implications of Wimsatt and Beardsley's theory of literary interpretation by applying them to Yeats's "Lapis Lazuli." He then maps the development of Anglo-American...||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|7||Video07 - Russian Formalism||In this lecture, Professor Paul Fry explores the works of major Russian formalists reviewed in an essay by Boris Eikhenbaum. He begins by distinguishing Russian formalism from hermeneutics. Eikhenbaum's dependency on core ideas of Marxist and ...||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|8||Video08 - Semiotics and Structuralism||In this lecture, Professor Paul Fry explores the semiotics movement through the work of its founding theorist, Ferdinand de Saussure. The relationship of semiotics to hermeneutics, New Criticism, and Russian formalism is considered. Key semiotic ...||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|9||Video09 - Linguistics and Literature||In this lecture on the work of Roman Jakobson, Professor Paul Fry continues his discussion of synchrony and diachrony. The relationships among formalism, semiotics, and linguistics are explored. Claude Levi-Strauss' structural interpretation of the Oedipu||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|10||Video10 - Deconstruction I: Jacques Derrida||In this lecture on Derrida and the origins of deconstruction, Professor Paul Fry explores two central Derridian works: "Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of Human Sciences" and "Différance." Derrida's critique of structuralism and semiotics, ...||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|11||Video11 - Deconstruction II: Paul de Man||In this second lecture on deconstruction, Professor Paul Fry concludes his consideration of Derrida and begins to explore the work of Paul de Man. Derrida's affinity for and departure from Levi-Strauss's distinction between nature and culture are ...||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|12||Video12 - Freud and Fiction||In this lecture, Professor Paul Fry turns his attention to the relationship between authorship and the psyche. Freud's meditations on the fundamental drives governing human behavior are read through the lens of literary critic Peter Brooks.||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|13||Video13 - Jacques Lacan in Theory||In this lecture on psychoanalytic criticism, Professor Paul Fry explores the work of Jacques Lacan. Lacan's interest in Freud and distaste for post-Freudian "ego psychologists" are briefly mentioned, and his clinical work on "the mirror stage" is ...||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|14||Video14 - Influence||In this lecture on the psyche in literary theory, Professor Paul Fry explores the work of T. S. Eliot and Harold Bloom, specifically their studies of tradition and individualism. Related and divergent perspectives on tradition, innovation, conservatism, a||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|15||Video15 - The Postmodern Psyche||In this lecture on the postmodern psyche, Professor Paul Fry explores the work of Gilles Deleuze, and Felix Guattari. and Slavoj _i_ek. The notion of the "postmodern" is defined through the use of examples in the visual arts and architecture.||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|16||Video16 - The Social Permeability of Reader and Text||In this first lecture on the theory of literature in social contexts, Professor Paul Fry examines the work of Mikhail Bakhtin and Hans Robert Jauss. The relation of their writing to formalist theory and the work of Barthes and Foucault is articulated.||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|17||Video17 - The Frankfurt School of Critical Theory||This first lecture on social theories of art and artistic production examines the Frankfurt School. The theoretical writings of Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin are explored in historical and political contexts, including Marxism, socialist realism, ...||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|18||Video18 - The Political Unconscious||In this lecture, Professor Paul Fry explores Fredric Jameson's seminal work, The Political Unconscious, as an outcropping of Marxist literary criticism and structural theory. Texts such as Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind" and Shakespeare's ...||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|19||Video19 - The New Historicism||In this lecture, Professor Paul Fry examines the work of two seminal New Historicists, Stephen Greenblatt and Jerome McGann. The origins of New Historicism in Early Modern literary studies are explored, and New Historicism's common strategies...||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|20||Video20 - The Classical Feminist Tradition||In this lecture on feminist criticism, Professor Paul Fry uses Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own as a lens to and commentary on the flourishing of feminist criticism in the twentieth century. The structure and rhetoric of A Room of One's Own is ...||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|21||Video21 - African-American Criticism||In this lecture, Professor Paul Fry examines trends in African-American criticism through the lens of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Toni Morrison. A brief history of African-American literature and criticism is undertaken, and the relationship of both to fem||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|22||Video22 - Post-Colonial Criticism||In this lecture on post-colonial theory, Professor Paul Fry explores the work of Edward Said and Homi K. Bhabha. The complicated origins, definitions, and limitations of the term "post-colonial" are outlined. Elaine Showalter's theory of the phasic ...||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|23||Video23 - Queer Theory and Gender Performativity||In this lecture on queer theory, Professor Paul Fry explores the work of Judith Butler in relation to Michel Foucault's History of Sexuality. Differences in terminology and methods are discussed, including Butler's emphasis on performance and ...||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|24||Video24 - The Institutional Construction of Literary Study||In this lecture on critical identities, Professor Fry examines the work of Stanley Fish and John Guillory. The lecture begins by examining Tony the Tow Truck as a site for the emergence of literary identities, then brings the course's use of the ...||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|25||Video25 - The End of Theory?; Neo-pragmatism||In this lecture, Professor Paul Fry takes on Knapp and Michaels's influential article, "Against Theory." The historical context of the piece is given and key aspects of the theorists' critical orientations, specifically their neo-pragmatism, are defined.||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
|26||Video26 - Reflections; Who Doesn't Hate Theory Now?||In this final lecture on literary theory, Professor Paul Fry revisits the relationship between language and speech, language and intention, and language and communication. Over the course of this discussion, he retrospectively defines theory as a ...||10/27/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
This was a great course for learning an introduction to literary theory. The professor is funny at times, and seems to support the old notion that if a lecturer loves what they are talking about the course will be more interesting. This is a great course for anyone interested in how to think about texts and language.
The audio component of this course is qualitatively sufficient, but the volume is horrendous without amplificatory devices. The course has myriad useful and intriguing things to offer, but in the overture especially the course is sprinkled with long-winded sections tracing historical and intellectual context that will bore those of you seeking a barebones course - one devoted to modalities of hermeneutic methodologies appertaining to the sphere of application. The speaker is knowledgable and harbors wonderful insights into the field, but also harbors the proclivity to speak very slowlike so speeding up the video to 1.5x or 2x is recommended. All considered, despite the shortcomings of the course, this course grants you plethora of perspectives to explore whatever tomes you may find yourself engrossed, leaves little unanswered or unexplored, and will not only sate your immediate curiousity about literary theory but will leave this lingering interest that will grow to pique your interest, yet again, and force you to delve into the depths seeking deeper understanding.
Volume too low
The course is excellent in all aspects. I wish the volume was a bit higher though. It's a shame that I have to use either headsets or external speakers to be able to listen to it.