Seminar: Literary Form, Mode, and Theme

L460 — Fall 2019

Nicholas Williams
Days and Times
9:30a - 10:45a TR (3 CR)
Course Description

Topic: The Gothic

Accompanying the develop­ment of realist fiction like its spectral unacknowledged twin, the Gothic stands for ev­erything excluded by realism:  the supernatural, the irrational, the sexually transgressive, the extraordinary, the ancient, the horrible.  We’ll consider the 18th century origins of gothic (Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto), as well as works from the Romantic heyday of the mode (by Ann Radcliffe, Matthew Lewis, Samuel Tay­lor Coleridge, Mary Shelley, James Hogg), but will also trace its continuance in the horror tales of Edgar Allan Poe, Stoker’s Dracula (and the lesser known Carmilla by Sheriden Le Fanu).  We’ll also look at the Weird Tale of H.P. Lovecraft and other 20th-century inheritors of the tradition, including (most likely) Shir­ley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Toni Morrison’s Beloved.  This is a full list which I might need to prune, but I’ll make sure that we’ll have time to consider broader cultural manifestations of the Gothic (e.g., goth culture).  Student work will include two interpretative essays and a group project involving a creative engagement with things Gothic.

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