Juliet D Shields
Readings may be English or American and drawn from different periods, or they may concentrate on different types - gothic, experimental, novel of consciousness, realistic novel. Special attention to the novel as a distinct literary form. Specific topic varies from quarter to quarter.
This course will trace the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century development of the Gothic novel, the literary ancestor of horror films and fantasy fiction. We’ll examine how conventional elements of the Gothic--supernatural encounters, monstrous transformations, imperiled heroines and satanic heroes—responded to very real social changes in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Great Britain and America. By reading a range of Gothic fiction including Horace Walpole’s Castle of Otranto, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and short stories by Edgar Allen Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne, we’ll begin to pose some answers to the following questions: Why did the Gothic novel originate in the mid to late eighteenth century? How and why did the genre develop differently in Great Britain and the United States? How does Gothic fiction represent the relationships between the natural and the supernatural, the human and the monstrous, the real and the imaginary?
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
discussion, lecture, group work
Class assignments and grading
In addition to active class participation, course requirements will include a presentation, several reading responses, and a 6-8 page essay.