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Lecture: Textual Analysis

Since Autumn Semester 2008

Prof. Elisabeth Bronfen and Dr. Barbara Strauman
Tuesdays 14.00-15.45

(1.) 16 September – The Text(s) of Literature
-- what is a text
-- what does reading a text mean
-- how to get started reading

(2.) 30 September – Structuralism and its Uses
-- similarity, difference, repetition as the seminal structural markers
-- what is a structural analysis
-- how can we describe the structure of a scene
-- how do structures, themes, arguments interrelate

(3.) 14 October – Pleasures and Dangers of Irony
-- why do we use irony
-- how do we determine, how do we describe ironic distance
-- how do we interpret an ironic voice
-- how do we determine the meaing of an ironic voice

 (4.) 28 October – A Question of Rhetorics
-- what is the difference between the figurative and the literal
-- how do tropes work
-- how is meaning transferred into tropes
-- what is gained, what is lost in figurative speech

(5.) 11 November – The Time of the Tale
-- how do events relate to the time it takes to relate them
-- what is a sequence and what is its function
-- narrated time, time of narration
-- flashbacks and foreshadowings

(6.) 25 November – The Question of Focalization
-- from whose point of view is the story told
-- are there several, conflicting perspectives
-- is there a difference between the narrator’s and the characters’ points of view
-- why does perspective matter

(7). 9 December – Reading Visuality
-- how to read paintings and photographs
-- how can rhetorical and narratological terminology be applied
-- the narrative dimension of the visual
-- the visual dimension of narrative


Spring Semester
Prof. Elisabeth Bronfen
Tuesdays 14.00-15.45

(1.) 17 February – Mapping Literary and Cultural Theory
-- why do we do theory, what is a theoretical reading
-- what is at stake
-- what are the concepts, concerns and issues involved in literary theories
-- how have literary theories emerged, evolved, transformed

(2.) 3 March – Voices of Literature, Voices in Literature
-- who speaks and why do they speak
-- direct and indirect characterization through speech
-- the characters voices, the narrator’s voice
-- what is the mood, tone, pitch of a text

(3.) 17 March – Question of Genres
-- anxiety of influence, desire of influence
-- genre cross-over
-- text and its cultural afterlife
-- genre memory

(4.) 31 March – Dramatis Personae
-- constellations of dramatic characters
-- semantic encoding
-- spatial/temporal location
-- psychological and ideological argument

-- Easter Break --

(5.) 21 April – Shakespeare in Theory
-- presenting a critical debate, the shifts and transformations of the discussion
-- transferring theory to text, transferring text to theory

(6.) 5 May – Cinematic Adaptations
-- how to read film
-- how film combines poetry, narrative and drama
-- how film adapts, appropriates, re-encodes literature

(7.) 19 May – Final Exam