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 American prose fiction by some of the most critically acclaimed writers of the 19th and 20th centuries. They include Hawthorne, Poe, Melville, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Shirley Jackson, Faulkner, Toni Morrison, and Paul Auster. We will discuss what constitutes the "Gothic" and follow some of its paths among this diverse group of writers.
Requirements: class attendance and participation, two papers (circa 5 pages each), and a final exam.