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Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory I

Big puffy cloud in the sky

This course establishes a foundational capacity to read, talk about, and write about critical and literary theory. We will examine the tension between theories of subjectivity and theories of reading as they developed in relation to one another. In this course, we will study authors who instruct their readers on how to interpret art while arguing about its value, its relation to “truth,” and the role it plays in society. Gradually, we will examine the structures of language itself, how it mediates culture, and how it constitutes the subject. The way we pay attention to literature, the way we organize our understanding of it, impacts the ways in which subjects become intelligible in the world and relate to one another. 
The course begins with the expectation that students will have little to no previous exposure to theory. We will explore not only the contents of the material but also how to read the texts themselves as well as begin to engage theory in their literary analyses. This course will prepare students for the recommended related course in the Winter Term, English 297.


Midterm, essay, final exam (all take home).

**Assessments subject to change**


  • Level 2 or above or 6.0 units of ENGL

Additional information

Recommended pairing ENGL 297 offered in Winter 2025

Department of English, Queen's University

Watson Hall
49 Bader Lane
Kingston ON K7L 3N6

Telephone (613) 533-2153


Telephone (613) 533-6000 ext. 74446 extension 74446


Telephone (613) 533-6000 ext. 74447 extension 74447

Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.