Critical Approaches 1 (Q3120)
15 credits, Level 4
How do we go about reading and interpreting a literary text? What are we trying to do when we analyse a work of literature: are we trying to establish one correct interpretation? How do we decide that some interpretations are more valuable than others? Do we need to understand the original intentions of the author to understand what something means? Is it necessary to understand the historical or political situation from which a work emerged? Do readers interpret texts differently at different historical moments? Could our interpretations of texts be affected by forces beyond our control, forces such as the workings of language, unconscious desires, class, race, gender, sexuality or nationality? How is it that some texts, Shakespeare's plays, for instance, are highly valued by our culture, while others have been lost or devalued? Who or what decides which literature will survive to be read and studied on English modules?
This module will suggest some ways of answering these large and difficult questions about interpretation, and aims to make you think in new ways about the work you do for your English degree at Sussex. The module is divided up into five parts: two five-week lecture blocks in the autumn, and three four-week blocks in the spring. In the autumn you will study two themes: "The Author/Authority" and "The Word"; in the spring you will study "Class and Culture," "Desire and Pleasure," and "Difference." Throughout the module you will read critical and theoretical essays and literary works that contribute to your understanding of these themes. The module will examine many different aspects of literary theory including new criticism, Marxism, structuralism, post-structuralism, deconstruction, feminism, post-colonial theory, psychoanalysis and queer theory. We will also ask you to reflect on the relationship between the theoretical reading and literature through simultaneously reading several literary texts.
100%: Coursework (Essay, Presentation)
Contact hours and workload
This module is 150 hours of work. This breaks down into 36 hours of contact time and 114 hours of independent study.
This module is running in the academic year 2018/19. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. It may become unavailable due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.
This module is offered on the following courses: