Literary Theory
Cod: 51157
Department: DH
Scientific area: Literary Studies
Total working hours: 156
Total contact time: 15

Following the main concepts that have been studied in Introduction to the Literary Studies, this course unit aims to develop three essential dimensions of the reflection on the nature of literature: the narrative dimension (with specific focus on the short story and the novel), the relationship between literature and other forms of art (especially as far as the representation of temporality is concerned) and a critical approach to the evolution of literary studies, as a method of knowledge about the literary phenomenon and its complex relations with contemporary society. This syllabus ends with a proposal of interpretation of some works, so that the above mentioned questions may be adequately assimilated and students may be able to reflect and analyze such issues critically.

At the end of this semester students are expected to be able to:

  • identify the nature and the importance of literary narrative
  • recognize the profound relationship between literature and other arts, namely in terms of temporality
  • develop their critical apparatus in order to establish the specific value of the literary phenomenon in present day western society
  • interpret and comment on a literary or para-literary text

  1. Narrative and Narratology
    The concepts of narrative and “narrativity”
    Evolution of Narratology – present day situation
    Short Story and Novel: today’s narrative genres
  2. “Narrativity” as inter-arts relationship
    Time and Temporality: “le dure désir de durer”
    Narration and memory
    Representation of temporality: literature, theatre, cinema, music
  3. A reflection on Literary Studies
    Literature and the Humanities’ crisis
    “What can literature do?” – value of meaning and interpretation
    Some cases of literary reading

AGUIAR E SILVA, Vítor Manuel de, Teoria da Literatura, Coimbra, Almedina, 8ª ed, 2002..
ANDRESEN; Sophia de Mello Breyner, Contos Exemplares, Lisboa, Portugália Editora, 3ª ed, 1970.
ANTUNES, António Lobo, Segundo Livro de Crónicas. Lisboa, Dom Quixote, 2002.
BESSA-LUÍS, Agustina, Fanny Owen, Viseu, Guimarães Editores, 1988.
FINKIELKRAUT, Alain, Ce que peut la Littérature, Paris, Gallimard, Collection Folio, 2008.
FINKIELKRAUT, Alain, Un Coeur Intelligent, Paris, Stock/Flammarion, 2009.
JAHANBEGLOO, Ramin, Quatro Entrevistas com George Steiner, Lisboa, Fenda, 1999.
KUNDERA, Milan, A Arte do Romance, Lisboa, Dom Quixote, 2002.
PAZ, Olegário; MONIZ, António; Dicionário Breve de Termos Literários. Lisboa, Editorial Presença, 1997
REIS, Carlos, LOPES, Ana Cristina M., Dicionário de Narratologia.  Coimbra, Almedina, 2002.
TODOROV, Tzvetan, La Littérature en péril, Paris, Flammarion, 2007.

Continuous assessment is privileged: 2 digital written documents (e-folios) during the semester (40%) and a final digital test, Global e-folio (e-folio G) at the end of the semester (60%). In due time, students can alternatively choose to perform one final exam (100%).