Undergraduate English Courses

358:328 The Gothic

 

01  TTH5  CAC  20361  ELLIS  MU-115

An ad for a paperback thriller displayed on subways and busses in New York recently declared that “no secret lies buried forever.”  The Gothic novel is the quintessential genre of buried secrets, and the quintessential burial place for secrets is the haunted house, the domestic space that became, by the mid-eighteenth-century, the sphere “ruled” by women.  The secret is buried because it involves violence, and its victim “haunts” its place of burial.  The Gothic is a genre that has persisted since it first emerged in the late eighteenth century, evolving with variants into popular horror movies.  We will trace this development from its beginning in Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto and will then read novels by Ann Radcliffe, Matthew Gregory Lewis, William Godwin, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

As an option, if you have seen the whole of "Breaking Bad," or are interested in doing so, you may write, for your final paper, a discussion of some theme or themes from that series that you find in the novels we have read this semester.