Syllabus for Literary Theory


A revised version of the syllabus is available.


  • 7.5 credits
  • Course code: 5EN459
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: English A1N

    Explanation of codes

    The code indicates the education cycle and in-depth level of the course in relation to other courses within the same main field of study according to the requirements for general degrees:

    First cycle

    • G1N: has only upper-secondary level entry requirements
    • G1F: has less than 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G1E: contains specially designed degree project for Higher Education Diploma
    • G2F: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G2E: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements, contains degree project for Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science
    • GXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

    Second cycle

    • A1N: has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1F: has second-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (60 credits)
    • A2E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (120 credits)
    • AXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2013-02-13
  • Established by: The Board of the Department of English
  • Applies from: Autumn 2013
  • Entry requirements:

    English C or 90 credits in a language subject or in comparative literature.

  • Responsible department: Department of English

Decisions and guidelines

The course is included in the Master's Programme in English.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing the course students will be able to

• show knowledge of the main currents of thought and the most significant theorists in contemporary literary theory

• use concepts and models of literary theory to read works of fiction

• place literary theory in a greater socio-political context.


What is deconstruction? How did linguistics and psychoanalysis affect the ways literary texts are read? What relation is there between debates in feminism, and gender and post-colonial studies, and literary theory? How can we define the literary qualities of a work of fiction? These are some of the questions addressed in a course which provides an introduction to the emergence, main currents, and uses of literary theory. Debates surrounding literary theory are placed in a greater, both Western and post-colonial, socio-political context.


Group sessions. Instruction, class discussions, and examinations are in English. All teaching materials are in English.


Students are examined continuously by means of oral presentations and written assignments. Grades are fail, pass, or pass with distinction.

Students who fail a regular examination will be offered a make-up examination within a reasonable period of time after the regular examination.

Students who fail an examination twice have the right to apply to the head of the department for permission to change examiners or examination forms.

Transitional provisions

Please contact the student counsellor for transitional regulations in connection with changes in the curriculum.

Other directives

If the curriculum or the course literature for a course module is changed, students have the right to be examined on the original curriculum and course literature on three occasions during the following three terms. After these three opportunities, the right normally expires. No other limitations apply regarding the number of examination opportunities.

Syllabus Revisions

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: Autumn 2018

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

  • Leitch, Vincent B. The Norton anthology of theory and criticism

    2. ed.: New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2010

    Find in the library


Photocopied/web-based material

Reading list revisions