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Speculative Fiction: Horror, Mystery, and Suspense

ENGL 144.301
instructor(s):
T 1:30-4:30

Horror, mystery, and suspense: three related, misunderstood, oft-maligned genres that many assume belong only in the supermarket aisle. But for centuries, writers have been using the tropes of these evolving forms to tell stories that grapple with the very darkest of human impulses. “No one need wonder at the existence of a literature of cosmic fear,” H. P. Lovecraft wrote in 1938. “It has always existed, and always will exist; and no better evidence of its tenacious vigor can be cited than the impulse which now and then drives writers of totally opposite leanings to try their hands at it … as if to discharge from their minds certain phantasmal shapes which would otherwise haunt them.” Students should come prepared to read a wide range of published work in the field, and to craft their own canny, uncanny, and original contributions to the genres of slow-ratcheted, nigh-unbearable tension and white-knuckle, heart-pounding terror.