Faculty of Arts

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitCentre for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies
OfferedNot offered in 2013
Coordinator(s)Professor Andrew Benjamin


Previously coded CRT6010


This unit will provide a detailed exploration of the internal logic of a particular approach or a set of related problems in contemporary critical theory. Negativity has been a durable theme of modern thought and writing, and in recent years it has become of considerable structural interest. The notion is variously defined, ususally with reference to one or more of philosophy, psychoanalysis and theology. This seminar seeks to analyse 'negativity' in the work of Franz Kafka and Maurice Blanchot, and it will do so with the help of critical theorists.


  1. To gain a close and full knowledge of two central writers of prose fiction in the twentieth century, Franz Kafka and Maurice Blanchot.
  2. To gain an awareness of the main lines of critical debate surrounding these works.
  3. To master the basic arguments pertaining to the problematic of negativity (roughly: Hegel, Kojeve, Adorno, Bataille).
  4. To develop skills in evaluating different readings of these writers, especially Blanchot's account of Kafka.
  5. To write coherently, economically and rigorously on both the literary and critical texts.


Two essays (4500 words each): 100%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

2 hours (1 x 2 hour seminar) per week