A typewriter and an axeGhosts and monsters fill the pages of popular books and appear on our TV and movie screens. This course surveys the history of such creations and asks what we can learn from them. We will begin by exploring the origins of the Gothic genre. We’ll also familiarize ourselves with theories about the appeal or function of writing that confronts the horrific, the terrifying, or the overwhelming.

Readings include key works by authors like Walpole, Hoffmann, and Shelley. We’ll look at modern America with Stephen King’s Carrie. As we go, we’ll ask: How do literary works reflect cultural anxieties? How have writers explained fear and evil? Why do some genres have low status? Popular films (Rosemary’s Baby, Scream) serve as examples to help us practice interpretive skills.

Both sections taught by Paul Neimann

Additional Information:Arts Sci Core Curr: Literature and the Arts
Arts Sci Gen Ed: Distribution-Arts Humanities
Departmental Category: General Literature and Language