Literary Criticism

Literary Criticism

This course is an introduction to literary criticism. Students will explore various critical approaches and methods used to analyse literary texts, including psychoanalytic criticism, feminist criticism, and postcolonial criticism. Through close readings of selected literary works, students will develop their skills in critical reading and writing and gain knowledge of the historical and cultural contexts of the texts. Students will also learn how literary criticism intersects with other disciplines and fields of study and how it can be used for personal growth and intellectual development as well as understanding and critiquing social, cultural, and political issues. The course will also explore the diversity and complexity of literary forms and traditions. By the end of the course, students will have a solid foundation in literary criticism and be able to analyse literary texts with confidence and insight.




What is Literary Criticism?  Introduction to literary criticism and its various forms and purposes.


Formalism (1920s-1930s): Focuses on the formal and structural aspects of literary texts, such as style, technique, and genre.


New Criticism (1930s-1950s): Emphasises close reading and the intrinsic literary value of a text, rather than its historical or biographical context.


[ON-DEMAND CLASS] Structuralism and Semiotics (1950s-1970s): Looks at the underlying structures and codes in literature and culture, such as language, symbolism, and narrative.


Reader-Response Criticism (1960s-1970s): Emphasises the reader's role in interpreting a text, and the ways in which their experiences and expectations shape their understanding.


Psychoanalytic Criticism (1920s-present): Uses psychoanalytic concepts and methods, such as the unconscious and the psyche, to interpret literature.


Feminist Criticism (1960s-present): Examines the ways in which literature reinforces or undermines the economic, political, social, and psychological oppression of women.


[ON-DEMAND CLASS] Cultural Studies (1960s-present) is an approach to literary studies that examines the ways in which literature reflects and shapes culture, often focusing on the representation and experiences of marginalised groups and the societal, political, and economic forces that shape them.


Deconstruction (1970s-present): Exposes the contradictions and instability of language and meaning in literature, challenging the idea of a stable or fixed interpretation.


New Historicism and Cultural Materialism (1970s-present): Examines literature in its historical and cultural context, considering how it reflects and is shaped by the social, economic, and political conditions of its time.


Gender Criticism (1970s-present) and Queer Theory (1980s-present): Gender criticism examines the ways in which gender shapes the literary text and the experience of reading, considering the representation and experiences of different genders. Queer theory examines the intersection of sexuality and gender in literature and culture, challenging the idea of a fixed or binary understanding of these categories.


[ON-DEMAND CLASS] Postcolonial Criticism (1970s-present): Examines the impact of colonialism on literature and culture, considering the representation and experiences of colonised peoples.


Ecocriticism (1990s-present): Examines the relationship between literature and the natural environment, considering the representation and impact of human interactions with nature.


Transnational and Globalisation Criticism (2000s-present): An approach to literary study that examines the ways in which literature and culture are shaped by global flows of people, ideas, and capital, considering the representation and experiences of different cultural and national groups.


[ON-DEMAND CLASS] Digital Humanities and Artificial Intelligence (1990s-present): An approach to literary study that uses digital technology and methods, such as text mining, data visualization, and artificial intelligence, to study literature and culture.