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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2008

E 382L • Linguistics and Literary Criticism

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35440 MW
9:30 AM-11:00 AM

Course Description

This course examines the relationship between linguistics and literary theory, principally by considering paradigm linguistic models alongside the literary accounts that imported, adapted, and otherwise engaged or rejected them. The course is thus first an overview of the linguistics (and linguistic philosophy) most relevant to literary study and, second, a survey of an extremely influential kind of literary criticism. Readings are drawn from the early 1900s to the present, but these are necessarily selective--heavier on the movements and critics that most engaged language study, lighter on more suggestive uses of linguistic theory. Specifically, we will study Saussurean and Prague School linguistics, generative grammar, speech-act theory, and sociolinguistics in their relation to Russian Formalism and Prague School criticism, stylistics and narratology, reader-oriented criticism, deconstruction, and (more briefly) new historicism and cultural criticism. More broadly, the course aims to acquaint students with the historical sources of some current critical terms and interpretive assumptions; to help students become adept close readers of literary and linguistic theory; and to ask students to consider general processes of interdisciplinary borrowing. The emphasis in the course will be on theory as opposed to literary application, but no previous experience in linguistics will be expected or required.


Required texts:

--Course Packet I (available at Speedway in Dobie Mall)

--Course Packet II

--J .L. Austin, How To Do Things with Words

--Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics (buy the McGraw-Hill, Baskin edition)

Recommended texts:

--Jonathan Culler, Ferdinand de Saussure (2nd ed. preferred)

--Frederick Newmeyer, Grammatical Theory

--Krystyna Pomorska and Stephen Rudy, eds., Roman Jakobson, Language in Literature


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