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Topics in Gender, Sexuality, and Literature: Home and Hearts

ENGL 290.401
TR 12-1:30
fulfills requirements:
Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora of the Standard Major
Sector 5: 19th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Pre-1900 Seminar Requirement of the Standard Major
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major

Traditionalists insist that woman’s place is in the home, indeed that a good woman is herself home; but women, in and out of fiction, haven’t always agreed. We shall examine a series of novels and films in which home becomes a haunted nightmare for the women who live in it.  Fiction we shall read includes Charlotte Bronts Jane Eyre, Edith Wharton’s ghost stories, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper, Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, and Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House. Films include Polanski’s Repulsion and perhaps Rosemary’s Baby, Robert Wise’s The Haunting, and Robert Aldrich’s Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.


            It may be significant that all the above fiction is written by women, while all the above films are directed by men.


            There will be a midterm, a take-home final, and an optional paper on a work outside the syllabus.