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Lecture 5

Lecture 5 - Literary Theory

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University of Toronto St. George
Christian Campbell

CLA260H1S Literary Theory July 18/12 • Challenges include: • Complex language: ‘performative’texts; specialized terminology • Theoretical works often come from other disciplines, especially philosophy • Counter-intuitive theories • Classics is traditionally very conservative: lots of time spent on learning Greek • Structuralism: • Ferdinand de Saussure, course in General Linguistics • Lange parole (individual utterances) • Saussure’s sign dealt with the signifier and the signified • Meaning established by difference • Focus on the deep structure of texts; context is less important • De-centering of author • Focus on structure • Levi-StraussAnalysis of Oedipus • Looking for a structure • What are the common links? • Over-relating of blood relations (being too close to your family) People killing each other under relating blood relations • • Killing mythical creatures • Troubled walking • People who are autocthonus have trouble walking I.e. Creatures like the Sphinx • • Structuralism is pretty arbitrary • Motifs can be structuralist • Kind of passe now Deep structures rather than poetic texture • • Narratology deals with the structure of narrative • Different kinds of narrators • Extradiegetic = not in the story • Intradiegetic = within the story • Heterodiegetic = within the story telling about someone else • Homodiegetic = telling story about self • Every text has a narrator • Levels of audience - who is being addressed • Narratology can map out relations • Anticipation (prolepsis) “before” • Flashback (analysis) “behind” • Focalisation - through whose eyes we receive story • Post-structuralism/critical theory • Derrida - deconstruction • Differance: difference, deferral “there is nothing outside of text” • Breaking down of binaries (e.g. Man/woman, body/soul, nature/culture); how texts contradict themselves and “come unstuck” (aporias) CLA260H1S Literary Theory July 18/12 • Everything is explained via texts • Foucault: histories of sexuality, power, institutions • “We are Greeks because we are not Barbarians” • “Aman is not womanly” • Taking apart power structures • Questioning foundations • Deconstruction can be arbitrary • How do d
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