Courses 2024/25

MA students should enroll using the first course number; PhD students should use the second.
Classes meet in C244.C  except for Research Seminar II, which will meet in C138.B.



TEO4.911535/ TEO7.920259 Introduction to the Advanced Study of Literature

TEO5.922160/ TEO8.922161 Topics in Literary Theory (12 ECTS, Autumn, Tue, 2:00-5:00 pm, João R. Figueiredo)


Do we need criteria to validate our interpretations?  The class will attempt to answer this and other related questions, namely: what to do and how to proceed when a literary text or an artwork does not allow itself to be evaluated or interpreted in the usual ways? Or: should we blame those critics who did not recognize the novelty of major works, e.g. Anna Seward re. Wordsworth or André Gide re. Proust?   From these two cases texts dealing with this problem, in both literature and art, will be read and discussed.  Authors include, among others, Samuel Johnson, Stanley Fish, Stanley Cavell, Leo Steinberg, Michael Fried, Erich Auerbach, and W. V. O. Quine.


TEO5.922162/ TEO8.922161 Topics in Literary Theory (12 ECTS, Autumn, Mon, 9:30 am-12:30 pm, Miguel Tamen)

Three Poets

Portuguese Romantic poetry was belatedly redeemed by three major poets: Cesário Verde, António Nobre and Camilo Pessanha.  Despite substantial differences they share important features: all are essentially one-book poets (respectively O Livro de Cesario Verde [1887], [1892] and Clepsydra [1920]); their books appeared through the well-meaning varying editorial interventions of admirers; and they only became famous posthumously.   The class will attempt to read those three books in their original editions and to describe the changes in diction they instance. No theory about the connection between their authors will be put forth; attention however will be paid to the ways in which different traditions of Portuguese Post-Romanticism have tended to find solace in them; deriving therefrom theories about sensory perception, belief, and memory.


TEO5.922168 / TEO8.922169 Topics in Literary Theory (12 ECTS, Autumn,  Wed, 9:30 am-12:30 pm, Chiara Nifosi)

(Un)Becoming Women

Moving from the formation of the Sapphic circles animating Paris during the Belle Époque to the relevance of queer identities for third wave and intersectional feminisms, this course will tackle lesbian literature from three different angles. As a porous aesthetic phenomenon, the genre raises a series of methodological questions concerning ethos, performativity, and reception in literary works. From a linguistic perspective, the progressive multiplication of lesbian identifications participates into larger debates on referentiality and encourages further assessment of the degree to which language actually stands for the object it describes. Through its philosophical component, the course explores the disruptive potential of lesbianism as a threat to what Hélène Cixous defined as “la grande poigne parentale-conjugale- phallogocentrique” (1975) that rules over gender roles and examines its features as a form of intersubjective construction of identity. The syllabus includes literary works by Renée Vivien, Natalie Barney, Colette, Violette Leduc, and Anne F. Garréta, as well as foundational theoretical excerpts by Simone de Beauvoir, Monique Wittig, Luce Irigaray, and Virginie Despentes.


TEO5.922164/ TEO8.922165 Topics in Literary Theory (12 ECTS, Autumn, Thu, 9:30 am-12:30 pm, Alberto Arruda)


The seminar will be divided into three parts: the analytic of the sublime (Kant), the moral implications of the sublime (Schiller), and the expression of the sublime (Hegel).  In part one we will read Kant’s pre-critical Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime, as well as sections 23 through 29 from the Third Critique; the continuity and the discontinuity between these two texts will be discussed.   In part two we will read Schiller’s two essays on the sublime (1793 and 1801), where he attempts to solve a number of difficulties issuing from Kant’s distinction.  In part three we will read a sequence from Hegel’s Aesthetics, where the question of the sublime is dealt with through the consideration of the difficulties in its expression.   Seminar discussions will touch on many different topics: quality, quantity, scale, morals, violence, power, terror, fear, delicacy, wild animals, storms, artistic expression, personality, autonomy, fragility, and the impossibility of existence independent from the self.  In short, the sublime will be considered throughout our seminar as a perennial expression of the relationship between mind and world.


TEO5.922166/ TEO8.922167 Topics in Literary Theory (12 ECTS, Spring, Tue, 2:00-5:00 pm, Nuno Amado)

Three Modern Authors: Kafka, Hemingway, and Yeats

The seminar will consist in the reading of works by William Butler Yeats, Franz Kafka and Ernest Hemingway.  The goal is not a unifying one, let alone comparative. We will try to determine in each case what makes these authors unique, their main ideas, the topics that concern them, their elaborate styles and the ways in which they relate to traditions and challenge such traditions.  Notwithstanding, our three authors have in common the fact that they lived and worked in times of profound artistic changes; reading their work thus incrementally raises inevitable issues about the ways in which they have accepted or refused Modernist practices and procedures. Since none of them appears to have been particularly prone to the attractions of avantgarde aesthetics, seminar discussions may simultaneously highlight one further, theoretically more interesting, point concerning what it meant to be an author in the early 20th Century.


TEO5.922112/ TEO8.922113 Tópicos de Teoria Literária (12 ECTS, Spring, Thu, 9:30 am-12:30 pm, Miguel Ramalhete Gomes)

Senses of History in English Modernism

In Ezra Pound’s motto for his attempt to give meaning to his cultural moment, “make it new”, the emphasis on the new has sometime obscured the meaning of “it”:  cultural history, or tradition.   Making meaning from history was a crucial dimension of anglophone Modernism, including the writing of The Waste Land, from fragments of a culture in ruins, and of The Cantos, as a “poem with history.”  Understanding British Modernism as a time and a place (rather than national identity), the seminar will focus on poems and essays by Ezra Pound and W. H. Auden, as well as on Virginia Woolf’s novel Jacob’s Room; we will moreover examine essays by T. S. Eliot and Wyndham Lewis, among others.   Discussing how history and cultural tradition are seen in some of the literary practices spanning from 1910 through 1940, it will be claimed that they are strongly present-minded, rather than historicist; an account will be sought for those varieties of formal and theoretical appropriation of the past geared to the perceived needs of a turbulent present.


TEO5.920376/ TEO8.921983 Topics in Literary Theory (12 ECTS, Spring, Fri, 9:30 am-12:30 pm,  António M. Feijó)

Portuguese Modernism

In the seminar we will read Alberto Caeiro’s poems.  A number of Fernando Pessoa’s other literary, philosophical, and critical works, as well as works from other authors, will also be read.


TEO6.920301/ TEO9.913606 Research Seminar I (12/30 ECTS, Autumn, Fri, 9:30 am-12:30 pm, 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, date and program tba, João R. Figueiredo)

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.