Spring 2023 - ENGL 364 D100

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

Class Number: 4956

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu, Th 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    BLU 10655, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 14, 2023
    11:59 AM – 11:59 AM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    30 units or two 200-division English courses. Recommended: ENGL 216.



The study and application of select literary theories.


Theory is foundational to the study of literature and criticism. It helps us think about the relevance of the literary to everyday life and the things that matter to us most in the world, including what it means to be human. For this reason, literary theory as a field is deeply passionate and hotly contested. In fact, some of the simplest questions are the most theoretically contentious: What is literary representation? What is the relationship between the world and the text? What is the status of the author and the role of the reader? In engaging these questions, this course offers a basic grounding in the purpose and practice of literary theory. We will trace the central debates and thorny questions that entangle the nature and value of literature. Our reading will loop back and forth through historical texts going back to Plato and Aristotle and including Immanuel Kant, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud as well as William Wordsworth, Matthew Arnold, and Oscar Wilde. Ultimately we will focus on a series of influential contemporary perspectives on gender, sexuality, and race, as well as posthumanism and environmental crisis.


  • Participation 10%
  • Discussion Posts 15%
  • Class Presentation 10%
  • First Paper (800 words) 20%
  • Second Paper (1,000-1,200 words) 25%
  • Take-home Final Exam 20%




All readings will be available on the course's Canvas page. If you prefer book form, I recommend that you order The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, 3rd edition. ISBN: 978-0-393-60295-1


Available from instructor on course Canvas site.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

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 website 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