nl en

Approaches to Literature


Admission requirements

Not applicable


This course provides an overview of the different approaches and theories in literary studies from classical antiquity until today. The subjects treated include classical poetics, hermeneutics, formalism and reader-response theory, psychoanalysis, structuralism and semiotics, deconstruction and poststructuralism, feminism and queer theory, cultural studies and cultural analysis, and aesthetics and politics.

Course objectives

In this course students are made familiar with the most important theoretical approaches to literature, each of which embodies a different approach to the literary object. In addition, students gain insight into the historical development of these different approaches and the ways in which they relate to one another. The reading material is entirely made up of texts written by the theorists themselves and comprises a number of classics. Students are encouraged to engage with these texts in a personal way, exploring their strengths and limitations by applying them to literary texts as well as film.


Check for schedules of courses and exams Roosters

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Weekly reading assignments (no grade);

Three writing assignments:

  • Donnelly/Marxism: 10%

  • Midterm assignment Waltz with Bashir: 20%

  • Kincaid/Feminism: 10%

  • Final paper: 60%

The final grade is the weighted average of the writing assignments.


Blackboard is used to inform students and to post assignments, texts, visual material.

Reading list

  • Timothy Donnelly, The Cloud Corporation. Seattle and New York: Wave Books, 2010

  • Jamaica Kincaid, The Autobiography of My Mother. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1996

  • Vincent Leitch (ed.), The Norton Anthology of Theory and Literary Criticism. Second, revised edition. New York and London: Norton, 2010


Students have to apply for this course with the registration system of the university uSis. General information about registration with uSis you can find here in Dutch and in English

Contact / information

For information about the contents of the course contact the instructor, mw dr M. Kasten, otherwise contact the Secretary’s Office for the programmes of Media Studies at P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C, E-mail: