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

Spring 2010

E 370W • Lit/Film: Gend/Realism/Goth-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34965 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
7:00 PM-9:30 PM
MEZ 2.124
MEZ 2.124

Course Description

From eighteenth-century literary texts to twenty-first-century film texts, the staples of the gothic genre have remained surprisingly constant: • Gothic heroines who find themselves in jeopardy. • Gothic heroes haunted by murderous doubles. • Gothic villains coded as "deviant" in their gendered/sexual identities. • Gloomy mansions, secret rooms, mysterious sounds, dreadful weather. This course will seek to illuminate how gothic elements—narrative, stylistic, and thematic—serve at different social-historical junctures to express cultural anxieties about gender and sexuality. We will ask, for example, why well-meaning characters are put into jeopardy, and why? What sorts of figures, appearances, and behaviors embody, quite literally, gothic terror and its eruption into “civilized” spaces? By pairing literary works with films, students will be able to analyze parallels and differences among gothic plots, characters, themes, aesthetics, and ideologies in two mediums. To supplement our close readings of primary texts, the syllabus will also include secondary readings drawn from feminist studies, psychoanalytic theory, film poetics, and historical materials. One of the best ways for students to master a subject and improve their critical thinking skills is through writing. The course will emphasize strategies for effective essays, including how to develop interesting arguments, use textual evidence effectively, strengthen transitions and organization, and clarify prose style. Note: There will be required screenings on Mondays from 7:00-9:30 PM approximately five times during the term.

Grading Policy

Essay #1 (2 pp.) + Rewrite (2 pp.), 15%; Essay #2 (4 pp.) + Rewrite (4 pp.), 15%; Peer Editing, 5%; Film Terms Test, 10%; Page-to-Screen Project, 15%; Final Essay (8 pp. + Drafts, Peer Editing), 30%; Course Commitment (e.g. Discussion Board Posts, Preparation, Participation, Punctuality), 10%. Attendance is expected and required. More than two missed classes without prior permission or medical documentation will result in points deducted from your final grade.


Edmund Burke, "A Philosophical Enquiry into…the Sublime" (1757); Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (1764); Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794); Ann Radcliffe, “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).


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