Spring 2019 - ENGL 364 E100

Literary Criticism: History, Theory, and Practice (4)

Class Number: 1510

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 6:30 PM – 10:20 PM
    HCC 1505, Vancouver

  • Prerequisites:

    Two 100 division English courses, and two 200 division English courses. Recommended: ENGL 216.



The study and application of select literary theories.


Art, Culture and the Politics of Representation

From Plato to the present, this course traces the development of literary criticism and theory with particular attention given to the way in which any theory of literature, art and culture must grapple with the issue of representation.  The following questions will guide our reading:  What do different theories say about the nature of representation and its relationship to art and culture?  What is the role of art and the artist within society?  What place should art and culture have in the world? What are the fundamental presuppositions of different literary and cultural theories regarding the meaning of art, the world, the "good," the "true," and the "beautiful," etc., and how we, as thinking, perceiving subjects, are constituted.  Lest these questions seem merely academic, we will be especially concerned to understand how the historical moments in which different theories hold sway influence not only what can be thought but how that thought is marshalled for particular ideological and/or political purposes.   

Now, more than ever, there is a real urgency to these debates.  In the midst of what has been referred to as a "theory backlash," not only are specific theories being attacked, but the very project of theory itself.  Framed by this assault on theory, and its relationship to the current neoliberal regime, this course will aim both to help us understand the nature, significance and continued relevance of past literary and cultural debates and to think about how these debates—and theory itself—can and must once again be put on the agenda today.


  • Participation (including micro-presentation) 20%
  • First paper (4-5 pages) 20%
  • Take-home midterm 25%
  • Final paper (6-8 pages) 35%



The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, Ed. Vincent Leitch et al, 3rd Edition


The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (selections), as well as additional materials posted on Canvas
ISBN: 978-0393602951

Department Undergraduate Notes:

IMPORTANT NOTE Re 300 and 400 level courses: 75% of spaces in 300 level English courses, and 100% of spaces in 400 level English courses, are reserved for declared English Major, Minor, Extended Minor, Joint Major, and Honours students only, until open enrollment begins.

For all On-Campus Courses, please note the following:
- To receive credit for the course, students must complete all requirements.
- Tutorials/Seminars WILL be held the first week of classes.
- When choosing your schedule, remember to check "Show lab/tutorial sections" to see all Lecture/Seminar/Tutorial times required.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html