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Winter Quarter ’03 – The History of Literary Criticism and Theory I: Plato to 1900

Assignments and Updates MOST RECENT FIRST!!

Last updated March 10, 2004 (Check Dates carefully, as we often will post more than one assignment at a time!!!)

March 17, 12:00 noon: FINAL DUE! For assignment, see Blackboard! Remember to turn in a copy as well of your Uber-Machine!

March 10: Reading: Nietzsche, “Truth and Falsity in an Extramoral Sense.”

Writing: A copy of your Uber-Machine, complete, up to and including your best understanding of Nietzsche. (Be sure to keep a copy--you will find this very useful when you begin work on your Final Essay, and you will not yet have received the copy you hand in back.)

March 8: Reading: Wilde, The Decay of Lying.

Writing: No Reponse Paper. Portfolio due. Be sure to review the Portfolio Assignment. (Scroll down to end of file--I haven't figured out yet how to get this link to jump to the right place!)

March 3: Reading: Arnold, "The Function of Criticism at the Present Time" (Adams); Marx: Selections from Adams, and the handout from The German Ideology. Look, too, on the Blackboard for an essay about Taste from Boileau through Wordsworth. (Not assigned at this point, but likely to be helpful in putting Boileau through Kant and Wordsworth together.)

Writing: Pick a key passage from each of the two writers you are reading for today. Type it out, and then explain what it says, and why it seems important.

February 27: Precis Paper Due. (The Precis Paper Assignment is posted on the 303 Blackboard Page).

February 25: Reading: Wordsworth, "Preface" to Lyrical Ballads. (Second Midterm to be distributed)

Writing: Explain which of the Machine's dimensions seems to you most significant for W's theory of poetry, and compare what W does in that dimension with one of our earlier authors. How are they alike? How do they differ?

February 23: Reading: Kant, Third Critique. Second Book, pp. 386-93.

Writing: Again, pick three "Key Concepts"--different from those you wrote on last time--and explain for each What it is, and Why it should be counted a Key Concept.

February 18: Reading: Kant, Third Critique. First Book, pp. 376-86.

Writing: Pick three "Key Concepts" from your reading of Kant, and for each, explain What it is, and Why it should be counted a Key Concept.

February 16: No Class

February 11: Reading: Hume, Of the Standard of Taste. (NOTE: This is a change from the original syllabus, when we were beginning Kant on this day!)

Writing: Think about Hume in relation to your reading of Burke. How do they differ? So what?

February 9: Reading: Burke, A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful. (Adams, 299-306). (NOTE: This is a change from the original syllabus! Less to read!)

Writing: After reading these pages, do as Gary did for you did in class last Wednesday: pick a column-sized bit of text you think is particularly significant. Then describe what about it is interesting and why. Make your description as full as two pages will allow. (Don't forget that you can use the machine as a way to survey your selection's importance.)

February 4: Reading: Boileau, The Art of Poetry.

Writing: Re-read KK one last time (for a while!), and then reread the Jonson poem with which we began the class: "Come my Celia, Let us Prove." (You can find this on the Blackboard page if you don't still have it in your notes.) Which of these two poems would Boileau have most liked? Why? What would he NOT have liked about the other?

February 2: Reading: Selections from Augustine's On Christian Doctrine Books 1 and 2 (all in Adams), plus 4-page handout of selections from Book 3; and Dante, "Letter to Can Grande La Scala" (in Adams).

Writing: Re-read “Kubla Khan” in the context of your reading of Augustine and Dante. Each author talks at one point about how poems can have more than one level of significance. What different levels of significance can you see in KK? Which of these two theorists gives you the best start on figuring out how to see multiple levels of meaning in KK? Why? How? [These are short but tough readings: remember the criterion for your writing: ECI! You don't have to be right--you just have to show ECI.]

January 28: MIDTERM

January 26: Reading: Sidney's Apology for Poetry. (This is a long piece! You will find it very challenging. Get started early--and try reading it in three or four sittings.)

Writing: Sir Philip Sidney is a man who talks a lot about earlier theorists, Plato, Horace, and Aristotle in particular. Which one of those writers seems to you to have been most influential on him? Why? and where in Sidney's treatise does that influence show?

January 21: Reading: Finish Sophocles, Oedipus.

Writing: Think about what each of the theorists we've read says about the effects of poetry—the pragmatic dimension, or what poetry does. Then write an account of what you think each would say about what this play is doing. What would Plato say this play does? Where? How? What would Aristotle see it doing? Where, and how? And the same for Horace.

You are in effect comparing and contrasting the three, using Sophocles’ text as a way to be specific. (With only two pages, you won’t be able to do everything—but you can give us a couple good full paragraphs for each.)

January 19: NO CLASS

January 14: Reading: Horace's Art of Poetry, and ll. 513-1109 of Oedipus.

Writing: Once you've read Horace, reflect on what he would think a "good" poem would be like. Then read Coleridge's Kubla Khan and think about what Horace would praise or not praise about it as a poem. Would Horace finally like this poem? What would he like about it? Would he dislike it? What would he dislike about it?

January 12: Reading: Aristotle's Poetics, and ll 1-512 of Oedipus.

Writing: Use the Machine to analyse Aristotle's theory of tragedy. To what degree is it an Imitation (or Mimetic) theory? Pragmatic? Expressive? Aesthetic (Objective)? How? Give us a paragraph for each.

January 7: Reading: Plato, Ion, Republic (excerpts from CTSP and handout). (You need not read the excerpts from Cratylus!)

Writing: From Plato's point of view, What kind of a thing is a poem? (and How Do You Know?); and What kind of a person is a poet? (and How Do You Know?) (When we ask How Do You Know? [or HDYK?] we mean: Show us in the text where you see Plato making the claim you ascribe to him.)