Introduction to Literary Theory

By Prof. Sayan Chattopadhyay   |   IIT Kanpur
Learners enrolled: 1791
This course traces the development of the major theoretical frameworks, from classical Greek theories of mimesis to the present day concerns of ecocriticism and postcolonialism, which are used to analyse texts within the discipline of English literary studies. Apart from giving a comprehensive overview of the salient features that inform each school of literary theory, the course also connects these theoretical frameworks to the social, political, and cultural contexts that underline them. It is hoped that this course will enable the students to have a firm understanding of the various eclectic concepts that inform the field of literary theory and also to engage with literature more critically.

INTENDED AUDIENCE  : Undergraduate and Postgraduate students of English literature
INDUSTRY SUPPORT   :  Institutions offering courses on English studies
Course Status : Completed
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 8 weeks
Category :
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • English Studies
Credit Points : 2
Level : Undergraduate
Start Date : 26 Jul 2021
End Date : 17 Sep 2021
Enrollment Ends : 09 Aug 2021
Exam Date : 26 Sep 2021 IST

Note: This exam date is subjected to change based on seat availability. You can check final exam date on your hall ticket.

Page Visits

Course layout

Week 1: Introduction, Mimesis.
Week 2: Classical & Neo-Classical Literary Theories, Romanticism.
Week 3: Formalism, Dialogism, Reader Response theory.
Week 4: Reader Response Theory, Structuralism, Post-Structuralism.
Week 5: Marxism, Psychoanalytic Theory.
Week 6: Psychoanalytic Theory, Gender.
Week 7: Modernism, Post-Modernism, Postcolonialism.
Week 8: Eco-Criticism, Indian Literary Theory

Books and references

  • Peter Barry Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory
  • Raman Selden, et al. A Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Literary Theory (5th edition)
  • Terry Eagleton Literary Theory: An Introduction
  • M. H. Abrams A Glossary of Literary Terms
  • Peter Brooker A Glossary of Cultural Theory
  • David Lodge and Nigel Wood Modern Criticism and Theory: A Reader

Instructor bio

Prof. Sayan Chattopadhyay

IIT Kanpur
Dr. Sayan Chattopadhyay is an assistant professor of English literature at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT Kanpur. He has a doctorate degree from the University of Cambridge. His primary areas of research include Postcolonial Studies and Indian English Writings and his research articles have appeared in various scholarly journals including Journal of Postcolonial Writing (Routledge), Ariel: A Review of International English (University of Calgary), The Journal of Commonwealth Literature (Sage) and Prose Studies: History, Theory, Criticism (Routledge).

Course certificate

The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
Date and Time of Exams: 26 September 2021 Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.


Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 6 assignments out of the total 8 assignments given in the course.
Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100

Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

YOU WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CERTIFICATE ONLY IF AVERAGE ASSIGNMENT SCORE >=10/25 AND EXAM SCORE >= 30/75. If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.

Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Kanpur .It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.

Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our online courses and certification. Happy learning.

- NPTEL team

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