Gothic Literature and the Aesthetics of Transgression and Transformation

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Catalog Description:

This course is an historical survey of Gothic literature from the eighteenth to the twentieth century.  The course focuses mainly on literary Gothicism of Europe and America, and it explores how films and other literary genres have appropriated gothic elements in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Course Objectives:

This course is an historical survey of Gothic literature from the close of the 18th century to the close of the 20th. In addition to tracing the roots and developments of this literary genre, we will examine the relationships between various entertainment media productions and the socio-political concerns of fin de siècle (end of the century) genres. It is no accident that Gothic traditions in literature, painting, and film experience a surge in popularity at the end of centuries, beginning with the end of the 18th century. We will examine various classic English and American Gothic novels and tales, and we will study science fiction films from the critical perspective of the Gothic. A key concern throughout the course will be to examine how the literature presents and engages supernaturalism, emotional excess, societal transgression, and personal transformation, discussing these topics in relation to a biblical worldview. Welcome to the engaging world of Gothic literature.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course, you should be able to demonstrate:

  1. knowledge of key elements of Gothic literature and how authors use these elements in various media (namely text and film) across major time periods;
  2. ability to read, analyze, and discuss the literature from a critical literary perspective while integrating interdisciplinary perspectives, including a Christian theological worldview, to make informed analyses;
  3. ability to think critically about how Gothic writers and filmmakers use various aesthetic elements to effect various responses in audiences;
  4. skills in developing a research topic, finding traditional print and online database resources, and integrating these research materials into your own thinking so as to write a focused and clearly supported literary research paper;
  5. skills in oral communication and collaborative learning by working in groups to deliver an oral presentation enhanced by a PowerPoint slideshow.