This course explores the origins of gothic fictions in the Americas through examinations of the law: its history and practices in England, the British West Indies, the French Antilles, and the United States. Three questions will preoccupy us during the semester: 1) Can we understand how ghostliness is reinvented in the legal language of property and persons? 2) What are the grounds for a transnational gothic into which are seeded legal fictions, spiritual belief, and historical fragments? 3) How do juridical fictions, summoned in the name of order, result in a new kind of haunting? Besides English, American, and Caribbean codes, statutes and case law, authors will include: Henry Fielding, Henry Mackensie, Charles Robert Maturin, William Godwin, James Hogg, Emily Bronte, Charles Brockden Brown, Herman Melville, Henry James, Jean Rhys, Marie Chauvet, Michelle Cliff.