Courses 2021/22

MA students should enroll using the first course number; PhD students should use the second.
Classes meet in room C244.C (formerly room 6/5), except for Research Seminar II, which meets in room C138.B (formerly room 5/2).


TEO4.911535/ TEO7.920259 Introduction to the Advanced Study of Literature / TEO5.920495/ TEO8.920494 Topics in Literary Theory (12 ECTS, Autumn, Mon, 9:30-12:30, Miguel Tamen)

Close or Distant

There is a recurring dispute in literary studies between those who think literary works should be examined closely and those who think​close reading is a waste of time.  The former claim that details in a poem or in a novel have priority over general assumptions about history, society, or culture; the latter, that those details are always explained by such general assumptions, and are ultimately idle.  We will follow this dispute throughout recent discussions of ‘close reading’ and ‘distant reading.’  Weekly papers required.


TEO5.920507/ TEO8.920506 Topics in Literary Theory (12 ECTS, Autumn, Thu, 9:30-12:30, Rita Patrício)

“Reality Seekers:” Poetry and Metaphysics in Antero de Quental and Vitorino Nemésio

In “Prefácio: Da Poesia” Vitorino Nemésio described poets and metaphysicians as “the two strands of reality seekers.” A few critical issues in the relationship between poetry and metaphysics as forms of reality seeking will be addressed in this seminar, from poems and essays by Antero de Quental and Vitorino Nemésio.  Special attention will be paid to the idea of ‘end of poetry.’


TEO5.920497/ TEO8.920496 Topics in Literary Theory (12 ECTS, Autumn, Wed, 3:30-6:30, Alberto Arruda)

A Reading of The Phenomenology of Mind, Part I

The seminar will consist in the reading of the first three sections of (Chapters I-V + Introduction) of The Phenomenology of Mind.  These sections include the chapters on consciousness and self-consciousness, where Hegel defines his project in relation to Kant, as well as the section on Reason, where Hegel distinguishes his project from philosophical anthropology.  Throughout the seminar we will interpret those sections in detail, placing Hegel’s argument in relation to the whole of the Phenomenology.  To clarify the argument, a number of additional texts will also be considered: e.g. Brandom on consciousness, Hyppolite and Kojève on self-consciousness, Gadamer and Taylor on the connection between philosophy and philosophical anthropology.

This will be a two-part seminar, to be offered in two consecutive years.  Next year we will address the section known as Mind.  No previous reading of Hegel or knowledge of German are required.


TEO5.920503/ TEO8.920502 Topics in Literary Theory (12 ECTS, Spring, Tue, 10:00-1:00, António M. Feijó)

Fernando Pessoa

Description tba.


TEO5.920501/ TEO8.920500 Topics in Literary Theory (12 ECTS, Spring, Wed, 2:00-5:00, Joana Matos Frias)

Suppose a Sentence:  Fallacies and Intentions

The seminar will develop after a number of remarks in volumes IV and V of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, by Lawrence Sterne, and will attempt to consider the extent to which statements such as “Philosophy has a fine saying for everything” and “How finely we argue upon mistaken facts” apply to literary ideas.  In a movement similar to that of Brian Dillon’s Suppose a Sentence, and bearing in mind Herberto Helder’s saying according to which “no sentence owns itself”, the sessions will consist in commentaries of sentences and formulaic statements in Western literature and criticism, undoing and reassembling fallacies, intentions, readings and misreadings.


TEO5.920505/ TEO8.920504 Topics in Literary Theory (12 ECTS, Spring, intensive seminar, two weeks in January, dates tba, Mon-Fri, 9:30-12:30, Brett Bourbon)

Consciousness, Intentionality, Meaning, Purpose, Thought, And Value

M.H. Abrams writes in The Mirror and the Lamp that “[i]n any period, the theory of mind and the theory of art tend to be integrally related and to turn upon similar analogies, explicit or submerged” (69). I think this is true. But why is it true? We will explore and answer this question, not relative to the Romantic theories that concern Abrams, but rather relative to contemporary theories of mind.  What Abrams notes has a more profound significance in our modern context—because theories of mind and science often take the form of reductive materialism, the goal of which is to eliminate the literary and folk psychological ways we talk about our minds (and much else).

This relationship between theories of art and mind has further significance in our contemporary condition—because it is a specific case of a more general problem. I will let Thomas Nagel characterize this general problem: Can “the reality of such features of our world as consciousness, intentionality, meaning, purpose, thought, and value . . . be accommodated in a universe consisting at the most basic level of physical facts—facts, however sophisticated, of the kind revealed by the physical sciences”? For Nagel in Mind and Cosmos this is a question to be answered by a philosophical analysis of science and of consciousness, etc. It is to my mind also a question of theology and art. We will explore this question as an aspect of all three—science, theology, and art.


TEO5.920499/ TEO8.920498 Topics in Literary Theory (12 ECTS, Spring, Thu, 9:30-12:30, Maria Sequeira Mendes)


There is no one Hamlet.  As the saying goes, John Gielgud was Hamlet over five hundred times.  We have Lawrence Olivier’s Hamlet, Mel Gibson’s, David Tenant’s, Adrian Lester’s, or Maxine Peake’s.  My favourite version of “To Be Or Not To Be” was performed by Innokenty Smoktunovsky, in the 1964 film directed by Grigori Kozintsev and Iosif Shapiro (in a Russian translation by Boris Pasternak).  The most remarkable contemporary version of the play was arguably directed by Yoshihiro Kurita, in 2007.  In this version, Kohchi Hirokazu renders Hamlet’s hesitations literal by sitting frontstage, with his legs crossed, throughout the whole show, while the other characters coalesce around him.   In the seminar we will close read Hamlet, contrasting Q1 and Q2 with the First Folio edition, and discussing a number of scenes from major productions of the play.   A few important critical texts will also be discussed.


TEO6.920301/ TEO9.913606 Research Seminar I (12/30 ECTS, Autumn, Fri, 9:30-12:30, João R. Figueiredo)

Thesis Projects

The seminar is structured around the discussion of oral expositions by the participants. These expositions will deal, in a preliminary way, with the topics on which they intend to write in their dissertations. A likely effect of these discussions is the modification of the original topics. The final aim of the seminar is the production, by the participants, of a detailed written outline of their future dissertations.


TEO6.920303/ TEO9.913607 Research Seminar II (6 ECTS, Spring, dates and program tba, Maria Sequeira Mendes)

Thesis Colloquia: The Theses of Theory

In this seminar, the participants, otherwise engaged in the writing of their theses, present their current research in a series of public lectures.