E 379N • Ghosts of the Gothic
5:00 PM-6:30 PM
The genre of gothic literature developed in the late eighteenth century and flourished in the Romantic era. A reaction set in during the Victorian period against the extravagant style and world of mystery featured in gothic literature. Victorian writers in general sought what they considered a more realistic representation of human experience, one that was grounded in the norms of everyday life, rational thought, and contained passion. And yet the darker experiences and mysterious illuminations that dominated gothicism proved too compelling as possibilities even for the presumably anti-gothic art of the Victorians. As a result many Victorian writers, while supposedly subscribing to realism, remained tempted by the portraits of inner human life that gothicism had explored. In effect, Victorian realism was haunted by ghosts of the gothic tradition. The course will study this haunting as it influences and shapes five major novels of the Victorian period: Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, and Tess of the D'Urbervilles, the Turn of the Screw.
Your grade will be based on a series of short papers (3pp) and quizzes that you will write for each of our texts plus a longer paper (6-9 pp) due near the end of the semester. The longer paper will be focused on a topic that connects two or more of the readings (topics to be distributed). All the papers will emphasize questions about how to read particular passages in the texts. The shorter papers and quizzes will make up 70% of the final grade, and the longer paper 30%. In addition: no one who does not attend and contribute regularly can end up with the grade of A in this course. (Regularly=a maximum of three missed classes.)
Mary Shelley: Frankenstein (World's Classics); Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights (Norton Critical Editions), ed. R. J. Dunn; Thomas Hardy: Tess of the d'Urbervilles (World's Classics 1988), eds. J. Grindle, and S. Gatrell; R. L. Stevenson: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: And Other Tales of Terror; Henry James: The Turn of the Screw (Dover Thrift Editions). Many of these texts can be found, sometimes in older editions, as used books either at the Co-oP or on Amazon. The important thing is that you get the version put out by the publisher as specified above. (OTHER READINGS: shorter works that you will be able to find online)