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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2009

E 370W • Literature and Film: Gender, Realism, Gothic

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34490 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
MEZ 2.124
Barton, S

Course Description

This course will focus on eruptions of gothic elements--especially those associated with gender--into the quotidian world of realist narrative. We will ask, which characters, plot elements, and settings are coded as "gothic"? What are the aesthetic, cultural, and ideological effects of these gothic motifs? In addition to the lens supplied by gender studies, we will draw on genre studies, literary history, psychoanalysis, and film theory to enrich our close readings of the literary and filmic texts on our syllabus.

The course will be organized around thematic units based on four gothic elements--the heroine in peril, the patriarchal villain, the hero and his double, and the menacing mansion--each featuring one or two literary works and an Alfred Hitchcock film. After introducing the gothic genre, we will turn to Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. Austen appropriates key ingredients of the gothic novel (the most popular genre of Austen's day) and recasts them within the context of 19th-century realism. Numerous films directed by Alfred Hitchcock employ a related strategy, inviting gothic horror and suspense into familiar situations and spaces (most famously, a certain motel bathroom). Throughout the term, we will examine and compare how literary and cinematic texts introduce gothic elements into the staple plotlines and settings of the realist tradition: romance, class and status, marriage, family, and home.

Grading Policy

Short Response Papers and Visual Analysis exercises: 15%
Classroom and Discussion Board participation: 20%
Midterm Exam: 30%
Final Essay Exam: 35%

Attendance and punctuality are basic requirements of the course. Unexcused absences will lower your final grade.


Primary Readings (Note: some texts may change):
Edmund Burke, "A Philosophical Enquiry into...the Sublime" (1757)
Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (1764)
Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), "On the Supernatural in Poetry" (1826; pub. posthumously)
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (written 1789; pub. 1817)
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (1847)
Henry James, Washington Square (1880)
Robert Lewis Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper (1891)
Edith Wharton (short stories)

Alfred Hitchcock Films: The Lodger (1927), Rebecca (1940), Suspicion (1941), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Strangers on a Train (1951), Psycho (1960)


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