Literary Theory and Literary Criticism

By Prof. Aysha Iqbal   |   IIT Madras
Learners enrolled: 1231
The course presents an overview of major trends in literary criticism and literary theory. It traces the key topics in these domains beginning from the classical times of Aristotle, Plato and Longinus till more recent theoretical trends, such as film studies, gender studies and Eco criticism.

Course Status : Completed
Course Type : Core
Duration : 8 weeks
Category :
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit Points : 2
Level : Postgraduate
Start Date : 25 Jul 2022
End Date : 16 Sep 2022
Enrollment Ends : 08 Aug 2022
Exam Date : 25 Sep 2022 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

Lecture 1
Classical/ Neo Classical Theory I
Greek and Roman models with an emphasis on classical  qualities
Plato, Aristotle, Horace, Longinus
Theories of Drama, Poetry and Style
Lecture 2
Classical/ Neo Classical Theory II
Early Modern-Enlightenment (Philip Sidney, Dryden, Pope, Samuel Johnson, Locke, Addison, Hume)
Ars Poetica, Sublimity and the Satire
Lecture 3
Romanticism I
Early Nineteenth Century Romanticism
French and German Romanticism
Schiller, Stael
Kant and Hegel
Kant  Critique of Judgement
Lecture 4
Romanticism II
English and American Romanticism
Wordsworth, Coleridge, Emerson, Poe
Poetic Diction, Fancy and Imagination
Preface to Lyrical Ballads (1800) Biographia Literaria (1817)
William Hazlitt “On Poetry in General”
Harold Bloom, ed., Romanticism and Consciousness (1970)
Lecture 5
Late Nineteenth Century
Realism and Naturalism
Eliot, Zola, Henry James
Symbolism and Aestheticism
Baudelaire, Walter Pater, Wilde
Art for Art's Sake
Arnold and the Touchstone Method
Objective Correlative, Dissociation  of Sensibility, Impersonality of Art
Lecture 6
Marx, Engels
Dialectical Materialism, Economic Determinism
Manifesto, Das Kapital
Lukacs, The novel and socialist realism,
Althusser/Gramsci- Power/Control; Rule/HegemonyEagleton
Frankfurt School; Adorno, W. Benjamin
Lecture 7
Twentieth Century Criticism
Formalism and New Criticism
Brooks, Well Wrought Urn, Irony as a Principle of  Structure
Paul de Man, Eliot, A Tate
J C Ransom, The New Criticism
Will Empson, Seven Types of Ambiguity
The Chicago School, R S Crane
Shklovsky, Eichenbaum, Bakhtin, Jacobson
Defamiliarization, foregrounding, syuzhet/fabula
Prague Linguistic Circle
Lecture 8
Jean Piaget on “ Structure”
Saussure, Barthes
Lang/Par, synchro/diachronic analysis, syntagmatic/paradigm
Strauss - Mythologies
Jonathan Culler, Structuralist Poetics
Prague linguistic circle
Jakobson, Trubetskoy, Rene Wellek
Lecture 9
Archetypal Criticism
Bodkin, Archetypal Patterns in Poetry
Frazer, The Golden Bough
Frye, Anatomy of Criticism
C G Jung, Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Characters, Narratives, Symbols
Lecture 10
Freud, Jung, Lacan
The Interpretation of Dreams, complexes, defences, psychosexual stages and levels
Hamlet Psychoanalysed
Lacan, Jung and deviance from Freud
Metaphor, Metonymy
Lecture 11
Gender and Queer Theory
Woolf A Room of One's Own, Gilbert and Gubar, Beauvoir, Showalter, Kristeva, Cixous, Mulvey
Ecriture Feminine, Gynocriticism, Literary Paternity
Radical, Liberal and Rational Feminism
Performativity, Butler Gender Trouble, Sedgwick
Queer Theory and LGBT criticism
Lecture 12
Post Structuralism
Derrida, Foucault, Lacan, Baudrillard, Kristeva, Barthes
Eco, The Open Work
Derrida, Of Grammatology
Yale School
de Man, Hillis Miller
Semiology and the Rhetoric
Lecture 13
Reader Response and Reception
Husserl, Heidder, Jauss, Iser, Fish
1976 "Interpreting the Variorum", Interpretive Communities
Is There A Text in This Class
R Ingarden, The Intentional Object and the layers of strata
Lecture 14
Post Colonialism
Fanon, Said, Spivak, Bhabha, Achebe
Hybridity, Liminality, Subaltern
The Wretched of the Earth, Orientalism, Black Skin White Masks
The Empire Writes Back
Barry on PoCo
Colonial Mimicry
Lecture 15
New Historicism
The New Historicism (1989)
Greenblatt, Cultural Poetics, Towards a Poetics of Culture (1987)
Foucault, Derrida and other influences
L Montrose on N.H
Renaissance Self -Fashinoning: From More to Shakespeare
British Cultural Materialism
Lecture 16
Charles Sanders Pierce
Chomsky, Aspects of the Theory of Syntax
Eco, A Theory of Semiotics
Jameson, The Prison House of Language
Barthes S/Z
Lecure 17
Film Studies
Major Film Movements
Cinema and Modernism
Ideology, Character, Plot, Semiotics and Genres
Classic and New Hollywood
Key Concepts in Film Studies
Lecture 18
Ecocriticism and Green Studies
British Romanticism and American Transcendentalism
Nature Vs. Culture debates
Energy, Entropy, Symbiosis
Anthropocentrism and Patetic Fallacy
Ecocritical Readings and Linguistic Determinism

Books and references

Armbruster, Karla, and Kathleen R. Wallace. Beyond Nature Writing: Expanding the Boundaries of Ecocriticism. University of Virginia Press, 2001.
Ashcroft, Bill, et al. The Post-Colonial Studies Reader. Routledge, 2006.
Attridge, Derek. Reading and Responsibility. Amsterdam University Press, 2011.
Barry, Peter. Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory: Fourth Edition (Beginnings). 4th ed., Manchester University Press, 2017.
Bennet, Andrew, and Nicholas Royle. An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory. Routledge, 2016.
Brannigan, John. New Historicism and Cultural Materialism. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016.
Butler, Christopher. Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2002.
Chandler, Daniel. Semiotics: The Basics: The Basics. 4th ed., Routledge, 2022.
Glotfelty, Cheryll, and Harold Fromm, editors. The Ecocriticism Reader. University of Georgia Press, 1996.
Gutting, Gary, editor. The Cambridge Companion to Foucault. 2nd ed., Cambridge University Press, 2005.
Jonathan, Culler. Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction. 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, 2011.
Kusch, Celena. Literary Analysis: The Basics. Routledge, 2016.
Ogden, Benjamin H. Beyond Psychoanalytic Literary Criticism: Between Literature and Mind. 1st ed., Routledge, 2018.
Parvini, Neema. Shakespeare and Contemporary Theory: New Historicism and Cultural Materialism. 0 ed., Bloomsbury Academic, 2012.
Terry, Eagleton. Literary Theory: An Introduction. University of Minnesota Press, 1996.

Instructor bio

Prof. Aysha Iqbal

IIT Madras
Aysha Iqbal Viswamohan is professor of film studies, drama and popular culture in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras. Among her several books are Behind the Scenes: Contemporary Bollywood Directors(ed.) Sage: New Delhi, 2017, Post-liberalization Indian Novels in English: Global Reception & Politics of Award London: ANTHEM, 2013.  Her books on communication include English for Technical Communication, and English for Nurses and English for the Hotel Industry

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:  25 September 2022 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 Madras .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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