English 110B - Winter, 2023

Introduction to Modern Literary & Critical Theory

Class Information

Instructor: Badley, Chip
CRN: 23426
Time: MWF 9:00-9:50
Location: Wellman 202
GE Areas: Writing Experience


This course will introduce students to literary and critical theory of roughly the last two hundred years. We'll start with four figures associated with what Paul Ricoeur terms the "hermeneutics of suspicion": Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Sigmund Freud. Then, we'll explore the afterlives of their respective schools of thought across a range of theoretical traditions including Marxism, psychoanalysis, New Historicism, cultural studies, critical race and ethnic studies, postcolonialism, feminism, queer theory, and ecocriticism. Although we will read widely across a range of critical traditions, our class will focus on how theory can enrich our interpretation of literature. Students can expect to gain a greater understanding of how literature works (or doesn't) within the world and how texts accrue meaning within a multitude of contexts.


Reading Outline
Midterm Exam
Section Attendance and Participation
Final Exam


1. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism