Spring 2012 Undergraduate English Courses: Special Topics
351:330 The Gothic
01 TTH8 CAC 75065 THOMAS MU-208
01-"That Way Madness Lies": Gothic Literature Survey
Murder and mystery, seduction and seclusion, the preternatural and the debauched—these are merely a few characteristics of a literary tradition that has come to be known as the Gothic. This course will examine both the emergence and evolution of Gothic literature, from the eighteenth century to the present, as well as the social, spiritual, and cultural anxieties that contributed to its popularity and continuance. We will read a wide variety of texts (sermons, short stories, novels, and autobiographies) from a diverse group of authors (Cotton Mather, Charles Brockden Brown, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, and William Faulkner, to name a few). We will also view one or two movies in order to understand how Gothic motifs have permeated the American film industry.
According to Roger Luckhurst, the Gothic records "the undamming of dark forces that rush into and insidiously undermine the order of everyday life." In this course, we will analyze these "dark forces" and examine the Gothic's prominent place in both the American literary canon and American culture writ large.