Anderson's English 479 Home Page

This home page provides reading assignments, discussion prompts, site links, and other resources for students in UTK's English 479, the History of Aesthetics from Plato to the Nineteenth Century.

The Syllabus

English 479: The History of Literary Theory

Class Information

Meeting Place: HSS 109
Class Time: TTh 2:10-3:25

Instructor Information

Dr. Misty G. Anderson
McTower 417
Office Phone: 4-6953
Office Hours: T. 3:30-4:30, W. 2-4


Hazard Adams, ed. Critical Theory Since Plato(CT)
Folger Collective, ed.› Women Critics 1660-1820(WC)
William Shakespeare, King Lear
Reserve Packet, Hodges Library Reserve Room (R)
Class Handouts (H)
Class Web page:


28 Introduction,› Sophocles, Oedipus (R)


2 Freud, Repression, The Unconscious, The Dissolution of the Oedipus Complex, (R)› Marx,
4 Nietzsche, from The Birth of Tragedy, (CT) Sophocles, Oedipus (R)
9 Plato, "Ion" (CT), Aristotle, Poetics (CT), Sappho, lyrics (R), Oedipus continued.
11 Horace, Ars Poetica (CT), Aristophanes, The Clouds (R)?
16The Clouds cont. Longinus (?) On the Sublime, Plotinus, St. Augustine (CT)
18 Boethius, Aquinus, Dante Alighieri (CT).› Take a look at Some Sound Advice (on papers).
19 Paper Due, 4-5 pages, 9:00 A.M.
23 Boccaccio, Castelvetro, (CT) King Lear Act I.
25 King Lear, Acts II-IV
30 King Lear, Act V, Hic-Mulier (H)


2 Gosson, School of Abuse (H), Sidney, An Apology for Poetry (CT)
7 finish Apology, Bacon, from The Advancement of Learning (CT)
9 DrydenŪs Essay of Dramatic Poetry (CT)
14 Behn, Cavendish, Addison, Haywood (WC)
16 Pope, Essay on Criticism (CT)
21 EXAM 1 In Class
28 Johnson, žPreface to ShakespeareÓ (CT), Elizabeth Griffith and Lennox on Shakespeare (WC),
30 Baillie, Cowley, Sarah Fielding, Jane Barker, Barbauld, Alcock, (WC)


4 Inchbald, Burney, Reeve, Wheatley (WC), Austen (H)
6 Hume "On Taste," Reynold's Discourses, Blake's Annotations (CT)
11 Burke, A Philosophical Inquiry Into...the Sublime and the Beautiful,Wollstonecraft,
13 Kant, Critique of Judgment (CT)
18 Wordsworth, "preface to 2nd ed. Lyrical Ballads", Mme de Stael (CT).
20 Coleridge, Shakespeare's Judgment... and from Biographia Literaria, Keats from Letters (CT)
21 PAPER 2 DUE 9:00 AM
25 Peacock (1820) and Shelley (1821/40) (CT)
2 Hegel (CT)
4 Hegel (1835) and Nietzsche reprise (CT)
9 Arnold, "The Function of Criticism at the Present TimeÓ (CT), žDover BeachÓ (H)
11 Marx and Freud reprise, review for final

About This Course

On our chronological path through the history of aesthetics, we will try to make sense of the tastes, fears, and desires of generations of western cultures.› Aesthetics, or writing about what art should do, gives us some insight into the more psychological dimensions of social groups long past.› It also helps us to see the very tenuous boundaries between things that are žartÓ and things that are žnot artÓ as they are being drawn.› A study of this type of philosophical writing promises to tell us something about our expectations of literary texts and other artifacts.›› The tensions that writers in many different periods have identified, tensions between chaos and order, passion and discipline, body and mind, and nature and artifice (to name a few) still resonate for us.› Hopefully, our investigations will bring these ideas about aesthetic experience and their implications into clearer focus.› At the end of this course, I hope you will have a stronger sense of the aesthetic debates of the western literary tradition that will help you place the texts you read in other classes in terms of their historical assumptions.

Requirements for the course

Graduate students who are taking the course for graduate credit should see me during the first two weeks of September to discuss graduate requirements and to assess your particular plans for study.

Useful Hot Links

The following links will give you additional support as you prepare to lead class discussion. They may also come in handy around paper time and for general clarification of terms and ideas. Please let me know if you find any particularly helpful sites during the semester and I will add them to the list. Go to the next page.
If you have comments or suggestions, email me at
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