In this final lecture on literary theory, Professor Paul Fry revisits the relationship between language and speech, language and intention, and language and communication. Over the course of this discussion, he retrospectively defines theory as a means of establishing the extent to which "it is legitimate to be suspicious of communication." Along the way, he reconnects with New Criticism, Jakobson, Bakhtin, Saussure, de Man, Fish, and Knapp and Michaels. Through an analysis of epitaphs and a final tour through Tony the Tow Truck, he underscores the central role of language in the variety of literary theories presented in the course.
In this course, Prof. Paul H. Fry gives 26 video lectures on Theory of Literature. This is a survey of the main trends in twentieth-century literary theory. Lectures will provide background for the readings and explicate them where appropriate, while attempting to develop a coherent overall context that incorporates philosophical and social perspectives on the recurrent questions: what is literature, how is it produced, how can it be understood, and what is its purpose?