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Introduction of Critical Approaches to Literature

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  1. Introduction of Critical Approaches to Literature IRIS TUAN

  2. 簡介 • Self-Introduction • Syllabus • Course Textbooks • Course Requirements • Assign Groups

  3. 討論主題 課程簡介 Literary theory: (1) Historical and Biographical Approaches (2) The Formalist Approach (3) The Psychological Approach: Freud (4) Mythological and Archetypal Approaches (5) Feminisms and Gender Studies (6) Cultural Studies (7) Reader-Response Criticism (8) Dialogics (9) Structuralism (10) Poststructuralism, Including Deconstruction 補充 The contemporary theaters in the West and in Taiwan

  4. Syllabus • 18-week teaching materials • See the Syllabus

  5. Course Textbooks • A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature. • 5th Edition. • Wilfred L. Guerin 等五人著. • New York: Oxford Press, 2005. • 訂書:此堂課自願負責同學或大一班代 • 書林 (02)2368-7227 or (02)2368-7226 ext. 111

  6. Course Requirements • 1. Don’t be late. • (3 times count as an absence.) • 2. Don’t be absent. • (3 times absence will be dropped out) • 3. Study hard. • 4. May U All Pass & High Pass

  7. Assign Groups • 依學生人數而定分組,每週輪流報告 • 期末亦為小組口頭報告 • 報告時小組成員全部都上台,由小組中一人代表報告,其餘人備詢回答問題 • 並以小組為單位繳交期中與期末各一份Powerpoint • 在口頭報告時,與Powerpoint首頁, 註明小組中每個人所分配負責的工作

  8. Signification • 本課程介紹西方各種文學理論與流派 • 精讀六個名著 • 並以戲劇文類為例,介紹台灣劇場,探討「文化翻譯」(如以京劇演出莎翁名劇)的問題 • 藉由學習此文學作品讀法的課,可學到如何用不同的文學理論來詮釋解讀文學作品

  9. Participation in Classes, Presentations &Exams • Attend all classes • Participate in discussion • Study hard • Present well in 2 oral group presentations • Do well in exams • Good luck!

  10. Getting Started:The Precritical Response • I. Setting • II. Plot • III. Character • IV. Structure • V. Style • VI. Atmosphere • VII. Theme

  11. First Things First:Textual Scholarship, Genres, and Source Study • I. First, a note on Traditional Approaches • II. Three Foundational Questions

  12. A. Textual Scholarship: • Do we have an accurate version of what we are studying?1. General Observations • 2. Text Study in Practice

  13. B. Matters of Genre: What Are We Dealing With? • 1. An Overview of Genre • 2. Genre Characteristics in Practice

  14. C. Source Study: Did Earlier Writings Help This Work Come into Being? • Kenneth Burke called it—a “high class kind of gossip” • We are interested in: the “inspection of successive drafts, notebooks, the author’s literary habits in general” (Gibson 171).

  15. 1. The Precritical Response • Literature: part of the academic curriculum • It “taught” something • It was a source of “knowledge” • Discipline of criticism

  16. Susan Sontag • In “Against Interpretation,” Susan Sontag mounted a frontal attack on most kinds of contemporary criticism, which, she maintained, actually usurp the place of a work of art (13-23). • She concluded with the pronouncement that “in place of a hermeneutics we need an erotics of art.”

  17. 1. I. Setting • The Civil War era and wilderness terrain of Cold Mountain correspond to the setting of the work of literature: • (1) the antebellum South of Huckleberry Finn • (2) Puritan Massachusetts in “Young Goodman Brown” • (3) Cavalier England in “To His Coy Mistress” • (4) the eleventh-century Denmark in Hamlet • (5) the Deep South of the 1970s in “Everyday Use” • (6) the arctic desolateness and constant rain of Frankenstein.

  18. II. Plot • The conflict (plot) involving protagonist and antagonist • E.g. Hamlet versus his uncle

  19. III. Character • The young moviegoers assess the roles of the actors.

  20. IV. Structure • A plot structure, the relatedness of actions, • the gradual buildup in suspense from a situation full of potential to a climax and a resolution • E.g. Macbeth’s rise to be king of Scotland through foul and bloody means and the poetic justice of his defeat and death by one he had wronged.

  21. V. Style • The acting technique in a film may be realistic, as in Sean Penn’s in Mystic River, or it may be stylized, as in Johnny Depp’s in Pirates of the Caribbean.

  22. VI. Atmosphere • Defined as the mood or feeling that permeates an environment, atmosphere is a further common ingredient in the two parts of our analogy.

  23. VII. Theme • The often rich and varied underlying idea of the action is the theme. • The basic ingredients of literature: • (1) setting, (2) plot, (3) character, (4) structure, (5) style, (6) atmosphere, and (7) theme.

  24. 2. Textual Scholarship, Genres, and Source Study • 1. First, A Note on Traditional Approaches • Literature is primarily art • Widely divergent interpretive approaches to literature

  25. II. Three Foundational Questions • A. Textual Scholarship: Do we have an accurate version of what we are studying? • 1. General Observations • Textual criticism • James Thorpe in Principles of Textual Criticism, textual criticism has as its ideal the establishment of an authentic text, or the “text which the author intended”(50).

  26. Textual Criticism • Textual criticism-- studying the genesis and development of a piece of literature • As A. E. Housman says, textual criticism is the “science of discovering error in texts and the art of removing it”(2).

  27. 2. Text Study in Practice • A. “To His Coy Mistress” • The last word in this couplet: • Now therefore, while the youthful hue • Sits on thy skin like morning dew. • Instead of “dew,” the first edition of the poem had “glew,” which we now know is a dialectal variant of “glow,” although it was earlier thought to be another spelling of “glue,” a senseless reading in the context.

  28. b. Hamlet • Besides questionable readings, there are a number of words whose meanings have changed over the years but that must be understood in their Elizabethan senses if the play is to be properly interpreted. • E.g. “O that this too too solid flesh would melt” (I. ii) • “solid” or “sully (to dirty, or make foul)—make different interpretations

  29. c. Huckleberry Finn • Huckleberry Finn has an interesting textual history that space will allow us only to touch on here.

  30. d. “Young Goodman Brown” • Obsolete words in the story like “wot’st” (know), “Goody” (Goodwife, or Mrs.), and “Goodman” (Mr.) are defined in most desk dictionaries, and none of the other words has undergone radical semantic change.

  31. e. “Everyday Use” • Among Alice Walker’s earliest short fiction • Publication in 1973 • Critical edition--Barbara T. Christian’s Women Writers Series • Including Major American Short Stories, edited by A. Walton Litz

  32. f. Frankenstein • A minor point of spelling • In this handbook, the authors maintained the dominant spelling “De Lacy.”

  33. B. Matters of Genre: What Are We Dealing With? • 1. An Overview of Genre • First, a word about the fountainhead of criticism • Aristotle’s Poetics (4th century B.C.) • Arthur miller’s Willy Loman can be tragic when they stress plot rather than character or diction, or when they stress the mimetic role of literature.

  34. Genre Criticism • Genre criticism– criticism of “kinds” or “types” • Northrop Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism • E. D. Hirsch’s Validity in Interpretation • Robert Scholes’s Structuralism in Literature

  35. 2. Genre Characteristics in Practice • Different literary genres are judged according to different standards. • Hamlet: Revenge Tragedy Par Excellence • The genre to which Hamlet belongs is drama. • Aristotle’s description of drama as “imitated human action” • Tragedy: “serious action,” usually the downfall and resultant misery or death of a person of significance

  36. Summary of The Play Hamlet • Hamlet, Prince of Denmark • Melancholy by the recent death of his father and the remarriage of his mother to her late husband’s brother • The ghost of Hamlet’s father appears and reveals that he was murdered. • Arrange a traveling players to present a drama • Characters: Ophelia, Polonius, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Laertes, the king, the queen, young Fortinbras of Norway

  37. Huckleberry Finn--Novel • It may emphasize action or adventure (e.g., Treasure Island or mystery stories) or character delineation (e. g. Pride and Prejudice) or a theme either aesthetically or propagandistically (Wuthering Heights or Uncle Tom’s Cabin).

  38. Huckleberry Finn • Also a direct descendant of an important subgenre: • The Spanish picaresque tale that arose in the sixteenth century as a reaction against the chivalric romance. • Characters: Huck, Jim, Miss Watson, Huck’s father, etc.

  39. “Young Goodman Brown” • A short story • A relatively brief narrative of prose fiction (ranging in length from five hundred to twenty thousand words) characterized by considerably more unity and compression in all its parts than the novel— • In theme, plot, structure, character, setting, and mood. • Characters: Goodman Brown, Faith, the Devil, etc.

  40. “Everyday Use” • A short story • Author: Alice Walker • She won the Pulitzer Prize for The Color Purple • Characters: mother (Johnson), daughter (Maggie), talented daughter (Dee), and a black man (Hakim-a-barber”

  41. Frankenstein • A novel, a long story involving characters in actions usually pointing to some kind of resolution. • The Gothic novel • In 18th Century England • Atmosphere of terror and horror brought about by dark and foreboding settings, often in mysterious medieval castles

  42. Frankenstein • In the Gothic novel, characters tend to be one-dimensional, cardboard figures like black-hearted villains, pure and helpless maidens, and handsome and virtuous heroes. • A story within a story • It begins in the frozen reaches of the polar North.

  43. Frankenstein Characters: Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein, the monster, Elizabeth, and William. Robert Walton, an English explorer, rescues the man, Victor Frankenstein, tells Walton the story of his life. Victor Frankenstein, a Swiss scientist, invented a monster in his lab.

  44. C. Source Study:Did Earlier Writings Help This Work Come into Being? • Call the approach genetic: • A work is considered in terms of its origins • Criticismbased on a close comparison of texts has recently come under attack.

  45. Assignments • 1. 分好組 • 2. 買好教科書 • 3. 下週帶書來上課 • 4. 第一組學生準備下週報告 • 5. 其他全部同學, 有空預習 • 6. 2/28 (Sat.) 放假快樂!