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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Marianne T Stecher
SCAND 312
Seattle Campus

Masterpieces of Scandinavian Literature

Major works of Scandinavian literature by selected authors.

Class description

Nordic Gothic or Nordic Noir? Is Nordic literature just dark and gloomy? Or is it filled with vengeful murders, chilling mysteries, and angst-inducing suspense? How does the Gothic relate to older literary traditions of Scandinavian literature that may still haunt us in the guise of Nordic crime fiction? From the Medieval Icelandic murder mystery of Gisli Saga, to the dark fairy tales of H.C. Andersen, the eerie diary novels of Kierkegaard and Soderberg, the drama GHOSTS of Henrik Ibsen, and the female Gothic tales of Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) and Aino Kallas, this course traces a line forward to the gruesome violence of contemporary Nordic crime fiction, called Nordic NOIR. The reading consists of literary fiction by Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Swedish writers in English translation.

Writing (W) credit given for this course. Books on order with the University Bookstore; Please see required books below, under General method of Instruction.

Student learning goals

1. To gain an understanding of Nordic literature in a broad context, including a knowledge of writers, literary movements, historical and national contexts.

2. To exercise tools for literary analysis and to improve interpretative skills for discussing and writing critically about culture, literature, and society.

3. To acquire the ability to identify the structure and narrative techniques of literary genres, such as the literary tale, the drama, and the novel.

General method of instruction

Lecture and discussion of assigned reading. Required books (on order with University Bookstore); please purchase following editions: 1. GISLI SURSSON'S SAGA (Penguin Classics) 2. Henrik Ibsen, "Ghosts" in Four Plays by Ibsen, vol. 2 (Signet Classics) 3. Soeren Kierkegaard, THE SEDUCER'S DIARY (Princeton U Press). 4. Hjalmar Soderberg, DOCTOR GLAS (Anchor Books) 5. Isak Dinesen, SEVEN GOTHIC TALES (Vintage Books).

Shorter texts by H.C. Andersen and Aino Kallas posted on Course Shared Site.

Recommended preparation

Open to all students with an interest in reading great literature. Advanced undergraduates students with interest in Comparative Literature, Drama, English, History, European Studies, Scandinavian Studies and/or Women Studies (GWSS) are especially well prepared for this course.

Class assignments and grading

Grades will be based on an exam, participation in class discussions, as well as some writing assignments. The principle assignment is the development of a term paper which relates in an original way to the concerns and themes of the course.

10% participation/class discussions & "class conference" 20% course exam 20% four short response papers or critical essays (1 - 2 pages) 10% term paper proposal 40% term paper Writing (W) Credit for the course.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Marianne T Stecher
Date: 01/05/2014