Theory and Criticism


Metacommentary (Jameson)• Three horizons ExegesisDefamiliarizationLiberal humanismUncannyThe intentional fallacyDelayed decodingMaster and slaveDialecticIdeologyFetishizingCommodityCondensation/displacementLatent/manifest contentMirror stageSignifier/signifiedReal/imaginary/symbolicISAs/RSAsProletariat/bourgeoisieAlways-alreadyPrimordial-I/ Social-ISemioticSignifying chainSemantics (Jameson)Hermeneutics (Jameson)Field-Coverage Model (Graff)Historical Narrative (White)Metahistory (White)Carceral     Capture of Body and its perpetual observation     NormalizationPanopticBase/superstructure (Althusser)Intention (Wimsatt/Beardsley)EssentialismOrientalismHegemonyEmplotmentMetonomy/Metaphor  b






"Orientalism: A term dedicated to the fabrication of "the Orient." A phrase coined by the West. In Orientalism, Asia as a whole is subjected to a loss of identity and otherwise "Othered" by dominating Western culture and ideology. Essentially, the West, in Hegelian terms, is defined by the East due to the need of justifying the West's "self" in the world."-Courtney



One state controls many


De Beauvoir

The Eternal Feminine


The myth of the eternal female: women are put into roles like virgin, or hag. Women as unexplainable makes it easy for men to dismiss them. "Oh, I'll never understand Women!"

Feminism Benefits both sexes


When men and women are equals they can have more fulfilling relationships. Similarly to the Master-Slave dialect, Men dominating women leave them unsatisfied.



"Simone De Beauvoir argues against essentialism when she states that “one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” She argues that a person’s essence does not preclude existence, and that what constitutes a person’s essence is instead based upon their actions. She argues that women are not born “feminine” but are taught how to act feminine according to the teachings of society. In “Gender Trouble,” Butler argues that social linguistics and power relations combine to create certain categories of femininity into which women are forced and thereby characterized. Similar to De Beauvoir, Butler states that femininity is not an inherent biological trait of women, and that sex does not determine gender. She asserts that so-called feminine and masculine behaviors are performances which are imposed upon us by what society deems appropriate to the respective genders." - Bradleigh



New Historicism



META-HISTORY: (White) How texts ask to be read, not just how we read them. Meta-history asks questions such as: What makes a historical explanation particularly historical? What is the structure of a uniquely historical awareness in the text? How is history represented in forms? 

Gender Studies



"Judith Butler describes/defines gender as something that is fluid.  There is no stable, concrete definition of gender; it's constantly changing because of outside factors such as time, culture, and society, and is therefore never the same. Butler also describes gender as that which is performative or fabricated. Gender is essentially defined and determined based on societies expectations and "norms"; ones body language, body movement, and fashion all come together to create this projection of a solid "gender", as defined by the society the person is immersed in. " - Christine

Gender Performance


You are not born with a gender, you perform it.




"One of Sedgwick's major thesis, however, is that the seeming male heterosexual in our society is actually a displacement of male homosocial desire. When men desire women, she argues, often the ultimate object of the desire is not the woman desired, but rather other men; the desire for women serves as a conduit through which the desire for men can be expressed." - wiki because I didn't read tat one


Hegel's Master-Slave Dialectic


The master-slave dialectic posits self-identity as dependent upon the other, with whom one must struggle for dominance in order to maintain identity rather than become the subjected other. Ironically, the victor loses the ability to appreciate the won self-identity, because the other on which it depends has been defeated. But the slave can gain a sense of identity through doing meaningful work.



the mirror stage


When a child looks in the mirror and recognizes its self in the illusion in the mirror. It therefore able to identify itself as an individual subject separate from its mother, as well as autonomous.

The nature of the Symbolic

The Uncanny


The Uncanny:  Freud describes the uncanny as a number of things beginning with what is familiar but changed. This strange feeling is the reoccurring appearance of repressed thoughts. These repressed thoughts could come from a moment the person is trying to forget, or natural fears like death, and dismemberment. Horror movies are not uncanny because the world in which they take place has rules and order which, similar to a fairytale. However, a cyborg is uncanny because it is what is familiar to us due to its human appearance, but is not human and not subject to death.

repetitive reappearance of repressed thoughts


the familiar made strangeFreud defined German for uncanny- Heimlich &unheimlich pg 826

The Interpretation of Dreams

latent and manifest content


"In our dreams, latent content is the underlying meaning that is not immediately recognizable because of the displacement and condensation that takes place in our unconscious do to the process of primary revision that creates the manifest content of images, structure and spoken/unspoken paranoiac knowledge of the dream sequence(s), often perceived as objects/subjects of metaphorical and metonymic significance. Interpretation of manifest content in dreams, referred to as secondary revision, can aid in recovering latent content but is also susceptible to revision that further diminishes or masks the purpose and meaning of the latent content from our conscious understanding." - Jerhico



"DISPLACEMENT: (Freud) In Freud's dream-work, this is identified as the second step (following condensation) in the dream formation process. Basically, this is the mind's way of getting around repression on the unconscious level. Essentially what happens is the mind takes the intolerable reality/unresolved conflict being repressed and translates it, displaces it onto a seemingly insignificant object or action. Another way of putting this is in terms of psychical intensities: to put something of high psychical intensity on an object of low psychical value. "

New Criticism (Anglo-American)


The Literary Tradition


There are no new ideas, only new arrangements of ideas. That is why form is important. A mistake poets make is trying to come up with new feelings when there are none. All works of art work together simultaneously to create meaning.

Wimsatt and Beardsley

The Intentional Fallacy


"The Intentional Fallacy- The intentional fallacy is the belief that understanding the author’s intent is important or even necessary when interpreting a text.  The intentional fallacy is a fallacy because the author’s intent is often unavailable for the reader to access, authors change their minds on the meaning of their work, an author can put something in their work subconsciously, and if the work is successful in getting meaning across then it’s not necessary to know what the author intended in the first place.  The work can stand alone for interpretation." - Rachel


The Well Wrought Urn


The poem is a "working out of the various tensions—set up by whatever means-by propositions, metaphors, symbols."[16] It achieves a resolution through this working out of tensions.The Poem is not a message, but an experience

Russian Formalism



The theory of the Formal Methor



Defamiliarization or ostranenie is the artistic technique of presenting to audiences common things in an unfamiliar or strange way in order to enhance perception of the familiar. A central concept in 20th-century art and theory, ranging over movements including Dada, postmodernism, epic theatre, and science fiction, it is also used as a tactic by recent movements such as culture jamming.



Marx and Engels



"RSA: Repressive State Apparatuses, otherwise known in society as administration, courts, army, police, prison. It is an entirely public domain that is violent and forcibly controlling in comparison to ISAs who use passivity and persuasion to inoculate ideology into societal norms. RSAs uses power as a form of dominating and "other" those indoctrinated into the state system." - Courtney



To turn something into a commodity, for instance a human being (i.e slavery).

Proletariat and Bourgeousie

Base and Super Structure



Ideology: ideas, beliefs, forms, and values of the ruling class


Literature and Ideology


Ideological State Apparatuses


Public school




"Always Already"


The idea that the child, even before birth, is always-already a subject of ideology is similar to Lacan’s idea of the “Name-of-the-Father” in that we are defined through language that pre-exists us, is imposed upon us. Unlike Lacan, however, Althusser believes that an individual’s subjectivity is created through social forces, or ISAs. Similar to how the Father subjugates the child and teaches him to accept the laws of society, Althusser says that ISAs foster rituals that provide the assurance that individuals will continue to repeat the relations of productions that are already in place. 

Repressive State Apparatuses




Infrastructure and superstructure



Our behaviors in relation to the people around us and to social institutions transform us into subjects, a concept which he calls ‘interpellation.’ Althusser follows Lacan’s understanding of the imaginary order in that we rely on language to define our ‘reality.’ 




"a way of reading history that makes visible the value and ideological assumptions encoded into the history, by identifying the narrative form being used."




Branch of knowledge dealing with interpretations

Narrative a Socially Symbolic act

3 Horizons of a Text


In the first horizon, the text is the singular text and is read as an example of forces working in the society it produced it, such as the mask example, in which the masks can be read as an attempt to resolve a social conflict that is unresolvable in reality. On the second horizon, the text is an ideologeme, or the smallest discernible unit of ideology, and it is read as emblematic of an entire ideology at work in the historical moment that produced the text. On the third, finally diachronic horizon, the text is the form of history itself, or the "ideology of form," in which we read evidence of moments of cultural revolution (transition from one mode of production to another) and of the constantly changing form of history.  


The Carceral



The Panoptic: Theall Seeing Eye, Foucault’s idea of the ultimate prison where one person can seewhat everyone is doing, but the prisoners cannot see one another or the personwatching. This makes discipline a passive act because the participants neverknow when the person is watching. m��ƱThR

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