HC221H - The Literary Gothic

Professor: Katy Brundan

4.00 credits

  • CRN 22379: Monday & Wednesday, 4:00-5:20pm @ CON 330

What does it mean when we say a literary text is Gothic? How does the Gothic affect us, its readers or viewers? The Gothic has often coincided with moments of great societal change or transitional time periods. In difficult times particularly, we may find the Gothic’s dark vision intriguing, alluring, and cathartic. In this course, we will explore different versions of the Gothic that emerged in different time periods, from its inception to its modern use as a way of articulating and approaching legacies of gender and racial oppression. We will consider the Gothic’s alignment with marginal identities, othered sexualities, transgression, the sublime, terror, horror, trauma, and resistance to female oppression. The course begins with the first Gothic novel, Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764), followed by Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902), both short novella-length works that blend psychology with archaic, otherworldly forces. We will consider how trauma is channeled in Daphne du Maurier’s classic Rebecca (1938) and Toni Morrison’s exploration of the legacy of slavery in Beloved (1987). The final short novel, Helen Oyeyemi’s The Icarus Girl (2006), explores issues involving childhood and race. The course involves reading some literary theory, including narrative theory, Freud’s ‘The Uncanny,’ and trauma theory. Course requirements include two essays, a journal assignment, and a group Infographic project.