Course Description and Objectives

This course is designed to familiarize students with the history and principles of literary criticism and to give them a firm foundation in literary theory. It covers some of the most influential critical approaches to literature from Aristotle to the beginning of the 20th century. It attempts to appreciate the strengths and limitations of these approaches first by explaining theoretical principles, then testing them through practical application.

Course Outline

First week

A general introduction to literary criticism

Second & Third weeks

Greek criticism: Plato

Fourth & fifth weeks 

 Greek criticism: Aristotle

Sixth week

Greco-Roman criticism: Horace

Seventh week

Renaissance criticism: Sir Phillip Sidney 

Eighth week

 Neoclassical criticism: John Dryden

Ninth, tenth &eleventh weeks

 Romantic Criticism: William Wordsworth

Twelfth & thirteenth weeks

Romantic Criticism: Samuel Coleridge

Fourteenth &fifteenth weeks

      General Review & applications

Course Assessment

Mid-term Exam -30 points

In-class participation 10 points

Final Exam – 60 points


- Literary criticism 1 handout

- M. A. Habib, A History of Literary Criticism. Blackwell Publishing, 2005.

- Richard Dutton, An Introduction to Literary Criticism. London: Longman, 1994.

- Charles Bressler, Literary Criticism; An Introduction to Theory and Practice. Prentice Hall 94.

- Raghukul Tilak, History and Principles of Literary Criticism. 16th ed. Rama Brothers, 1996.

- Sophocles', Oedipus king

The major discussion group on FACEBOOK


 Files to download

Sample Final Test

Sample test 1 Mid-term

Sample test 2 Mid term

 Aristotle's Poetics

key facts Oedipus

Oedipus tragic hero

Summary Oedipus King

Ideal tragic hero

Oedipus before the play presentation (new)

Oedipus the play presentation (new)

protagonist tragic irony

 Download the presentation on Romanticism

click here


Students' Presentations


Download Nourh Al-Ashi’s presentation on the tragic Hero

Download Ola Ashour’s presentation on the function of the chorus in Oedipus King

Download Faten  El-khaldi’s presentation on Horace.

Download Hanaa Mansour’s presentation on Sir Philip Sidney