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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Postgraduate Course: Ideology and Literature (ENLI11238)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will examine a number of texts from the perspective of changing conceptions of 'ideology', from Marx to the present day. By looking at works by writers such as William Wordsworth, Charlotte Bronte, Joseph Conrad and Samuel Beckett, the course explores the relationships between ideas of subjectivity, class, and the unconscious and examines the responses of literary texts to the possibility of radical political change. Karl Marx, Louis Althusser and Slavov Zizek will form the principal theoretical perspectives. Secondary reading will include the work of György Lukács, Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Raymond Williams, Jerome McGann, Terry Eagleton, and Frederick Jameson.

The main topics covered will be:

-- Capitalism, class and consciousness
-- The 'Romantic Ideology'
-- Ideology and subjectivity
-- Ideology and historical fiction
-- 'Structures of feeling'
-- The 'political unconscious'
-- Modernism, form and ideology
-- The author as producer
-- Ideology and structuralism
Course description This course asks students to examine different theories and conceptions of ideology and apply them to literary works. Students will also be required to use their readings of literary works to reflect upon theories of ideology.

Seminars will be used to examine the texts carefully and consider the ways in which they present the course's key themes. The seminars will be discussion-based, focusing on shared arguments, constructing presentations and engaging in debate. Students will prepare for these discussions by meeting in Autonomous Learning Groups (ALGs) in order to prepare a presentation for a specific topic set by the course coordinator.

The course will be assessed by the completion of a 4000-word essay.

Course content:

Primary Reading
1. Introduction. Ideology, Capitalism and Consciousness: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, selected texts (Eagleton, Ideology 23-30); Film Screening: The Pervert¿s Guide to Ideology (Dir. Sophie Fiennes, 2012).
2. The Romantic Ideology: William Wordsworth, selected poems (N)
3. The Subject of Ideology: Charlotte Bronte, The Professor (Penguin)
4. The Historical Individual: Walter Scott, Heart of Midlothian (Penguin)
5. Structures of Feeling: George Eliot, Felix Holt the Radical (Penguin)
6. Ideology and Modernism: Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim (Oxford World's Classics)
7. The Author as Producer: Bertold Brecht, The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Methuen)
9. Ideology and Form: Samuel Beckett, Endgame (N)
10. Ideology and Structuralism: Louis Althusser, selected texts (Eagleton, Ideology 87-111); Slavoj ¿i¿ek, ¿The Spectre of Ideology¿ (H).
11. Conclusion and review session: Ideology and the Unconscious.
[N = Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th edition, vol. 2
H = Handout provided by course organiser]

Further Reading
Theodor Adorno, ¿Trying to Understand Endgame¿ (1961)
Walter Benjamin, ¿The Author as Producer¿ (1934)
Terry Eagleton, Criticism and Ideology (1976)
----------, ed., Ideology (Longman Critical Readers, 1994)
----------, Myths of Power: A Marxist Study of the Brontës (1975)
Terry Eagleton and Drew Milne, eds., Marxist Literary Theory (Blackwell, 1996)
Frederic Jameson, The Political Unconscious (Routledge)
György Lukács, The Historical Novel (1962)
Raymond Williams, Marxism and Literature (1977)
Jerome J. McGann, The Romantic Ideology (1983)

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. construct clear and coherent arguments about the relationship between ideology and literature
  2. evaluate the debates between different theorists of ideology
  3. orally present the result of research undertaken individually and in a small group, respond constructively to research undertaken by others, and apply the results of that discussion to an understanding of the course's main themes.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Tim Milnes
Tel: (0131 6)50 3615
Course secretaryMiss Kara McCormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
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