Introduction to Literary Theory: Structuralism

, 18.00 - 20.00
Literary theory
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  • Tel: +44 (0)1937 546546
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  • From £22 – £26
    Concessions available

Interested in literary theory but don’t know where to start? Join us for this introduction to Structuralism as we explore how applying theory can enrich your reading experience.

This course takes place on Zoom.

How we understand a book depends on how we each interpret the words of the author. The study of Structuralism looks closely at the patterns of language and how we assign meaning to the words on the page and what they signify.

This session will consider ideas from the fields of linguistics and anthropology, which opened up new ways of reading in the 20th century. We’ll explore works by Ferdinand de Saussure, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Tzvetan Todorov, and John Hagan and apply their theories to texts, with particular reference to Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations. Key passages from this novel will be supplied to enable active participation in our discussions.

The evening session will consist of a short lecture introducing Structuralism as a literary theory, followed by group discussions that take a closer look at how these concepts can be applied to texts.

Through close reading and the application of theory, you will gain a deeper understanding of how to apply this specialised knowledge to any piece of literature you might encounter for a richer reading experience.

This course takes place on Zoom and we will email you a joining link the day before. There will be an opportunity to ask the tutor questions during the discussion portion of the session.

Interested in other courses on literary theory? For more information: Introduction to Literary Theory: Post-Structuralism and Introduction to Literary Theory: Narratology.

Please email to discuss your access requirements as soon as you have booked your ticket.

Pre-course task

A pdf of the excerpts used during the session will be emailed to students in advance and you may wish to read these before the session. Aside from the excerpts, there is no other required pre-reading.

Previous Skills, Knowledge, or Experience

None required. All welcome.

A willingness to participate in group discussion will help you get the most from this session.


This course is led by Dr Carole Maddern who is a full-time lecturer in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths, University of London. She earned a PhD from King’s College London and has been teaching at Goldsmiths for over twenty years, specialising in Old English and Literature of the Later Middle Ages. Her research interests include Old English and Middle English, the origins and development of the English language, Renaissance and Restoration drama, and gender studies. She has a passion for pedagogy, with a particular interest in active and distance learning, having taught at several colleges of London University as well as numerous adult education institutions.

She has written books on literature of the Middle Ages and Medieval literature, including Literature of the Later Middle Ages (2014) and Medieval Literature: York Notes Companions (2010).


Please email to discuss your access requirements.


When: , 18.00 - 20.00
Price: From £22 – £26
Concessions available
Where: Online
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546
Book now