English (ENGL) 316

Approaches to Literary Theory and Criticism (Revision 1)

ENGL 316

Revision 1 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: ENGL 211 and ENGL 212 or equivalent first year English course(s).

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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ENGL 316 is an introductory level course designed to familiarize you with a variety of critical perspectives and help you understand literary works more profoundly by integrating literary theory in your response to these works. ENGL 316 also aims to prepare English program students for ENGL 423, which deals with some of the more contemporary literary theories covered in English 316 in more depth.


  • Chapter 1: Defining Criticism, Theory, and Literature
  • Chapter 2: A Historical Survey of Literary Criticism
  • Chapter 3: Russian Formalism and New Criticism
  • Chapter 4: Reader-Oriented Criticism
  • Chapter 5: Modernity and Postmodernism: Structuralism and Deconstruction
  • Chapter 6: Psychoanalytic Criticism
  • Chapter 7: Feminism
  • Chapter 8: Marxism
  • Chapter 9: Cultural Poetics or New Historicism
  • Chapter 10: Cultural Studies: Postcolonialism, African-American Criticism, and Queer Theory


To receive credit for ENGL 316, you must complete two essay assignments, two discussion forum posts, and a final examination. In order to pass the course, you must achieve a composite grade of at least “D” (50 percent) and a minimum grade of “D” (50 percent) on the final exam.

First discussion forum post First Essay Second discussion forum post Second Essay Final Exam Total
5% 20% 5% 20% 50% 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Abrams, M. H. and Geoffrey Galt Harpham. A Glossary of Literary Terms. 10th ed. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2012.

Bressler, Charles, E. Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River,New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2009.

Lodge, David and Nigel Wood, eds. Modern Criticism and Theory: A Reader. 3rd ed. London: Pearson Longman, 2008.

Stott, Jon C., Raymond E. Jones, and Rick Bowers, eds. The Harbrace Anthology of Short Fiction. 4th ed. Toronto: Nelson Thomson Learning, 2006.

Other Materials

The course materials also include a student manual/study guide.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, February 23, 2010.