Introduction to Theory of Literature with Professor Paul H. Fry

This is a full, 26 lecture course on literary theory from Yale University, and taught by Prof. Paul H. Fry.  It offers 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 Yale College course, taught on campus twice per week for 50 minutes, was recorded for Open Yale Courses in Spring, 2009.  Lecture titles are listed after the jump.

About Professor Paul H. Fry

Paul H. Fry is the William Lampson Professor of English at Yale and specializes in British Romanticism, literary theory, and literature and the visual arts. He was educated at the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard and has been teaching at Yale since 1971. His publications include The Poet’s Calling in the English Ode, for which he was awarded the Melville Cane Award; The Reach of Criticism: Method and Perception in Literary Theory; William Empson: Prophet Against Sacrifice; A Defense of Poetry: Essays on the Occasion of Writing; and Wordsworth and the Poetry of What We Are.

Lecture titles:
1. Introduction
2. Introduction (continued)
3. Ways In and Out of the Hermeneutic Circle
4. Configurative Reading
5. The Idea of the Autonomous Artwork
6. The New Criticism and Other Western Formalisms
7. Russian Formalism
8. Semiotics and Structuralism
9. Linguistics and Literature
10. Deconstruction I
11. Decontstruction II
12. Freud and Fiction
13. Jacques Lacan in Theory
14. Influence
15. The Postmodern Psyche
16. The Social Permeability of Reader and Text
17. The Frankfurt School of Critical Theory
18. The Political Unconscious
19. The New Historicism
20. The Classical Feminist Tradition
21. African-American Criticism
22. Post-Colonial Criticism
23. Queer Theory and Gender Performativity
24. The Institutional Construction of Literary Study
25. The End of Theory; Neo-Pragmatism
26. Reflections; Who Doesn’t Hate Literary Theory?

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