The Gothic in Literature and Culture (ENGLISH 138E)
This course introduces students to the major features of Gothic narrative, a form that emerges at the same time as the Enlightenment, and that retains its power into our present. Surveying Gothic novels, as well as novellas and short stories with Gothic elements, we will learn about the defining features of the form and investigate its meaning in the cultural imagination. Gothic narratives, the course will suggest, examine the power of irrational forces in a secular age: forces that range from barbaric human practices, to supernatural activity, to the re-enchantment of modern existence. We will also consider the importance for Gothic authors and readers of the relation among narrative. spectacle and the visual arts. Primary works may include Ann Radcliffe's <e>The Italian, Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey</e>, Victor Hugo's <e>The Hunchback of Notre Dame</e>, E.T.A. Hoffman's <e>The Sandman</e>, Mary Shelly's <e>Frankenstein</e>, and Edgar Allen Poe's <e>The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym</e>. We may also do a section on vampires, including Bram Stoker's <e>Dracula</e>, and its remake in film by F.W. Murnau and Werner Herzog. Critical selections by Edmund Burke, Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault, and Terry Castle, among others.