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Ghost Stories and Gothic Tales

ENGL 286.601
instructor(s):
MW 7-8:20

The Gothic novel developed as a response to the Age of Reason and was subsumed by Romanticism. Yet in its wake the supernatural, horror, and the dimensions of evil still fascinate storytellers, even those specializing in realistic depictions of contemporary society. We will read a selection of predominantly American prose fiction by some of the most critically acclaimed writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The syllabus will be selected from the following list of authors: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, Edith Wharton, Isak Dinesen, Eudora Welty, and Toni Morrison. We will discuss what constitutes the "Gothic" in a modern context and follow some of its paths among this diverse group of writers. Course requirements: class attendance and participation, two 5-6 page papers and one 10-12 page paper.