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Conducted in a workshop format, this course will introduce the young poet to the art of reading as a writer (both his or her work as well as the work of others) and the application of such discoveries into one’s poetry. Essential elements of poetic craft will be explored and practiced through daily reading and writing assignments. Permission of instructor required. Please submit 3-5 poems to the instructor. Applicable English Clusters: H1ENG012 (Poems, Poetry, and Poetics), H1ENG015 (Creative Writing).
“You have been at Udolpho then!” said the nun, with great emotion.
“Alas! what scenes does the mention of it revive in my fancy—scenes
of happiness—of suffering—and of horror!”
— Anne Radcliffe, from The Mysteries of Udolpho
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Gothic literature rose to heights of unprecedented popularity. Gothic themes of specters and hauntings, damsels in distress and perfidious men, and gloomy mountains and claustrophobic castles thrilled reading audiences that crossed class lines. Authors like the “Great Enchantress” Anne Radcliffe and Matthew “Monk” Lewis were celebrities of their day. However, the Gothic was considered by many to be a “low” genre, whose emphases on violence, horror, spectacle, and even plot contrivances were, according to critics, ill-suited—and even dangerous—for their readers.
The poets and authors of the Romantic movement, which began in the late eighteenth century, attempted to distinguish their works from their Gothic contemporaries through claims of revolutionary rhetoric and sublime intentions. Wordsworth's “Preface to Lyrical Ballads” comments specifically on the dangers of “sickly and stupid German Tragedies” that poison their readers and influence writers to produce shoddy imitative works. S. T. Coleridge was shocked at The Monk's lurid descriptions of “libidinous” minutiae. But did Romantic authors protest too much? Just how much do Gothic and Romantic texts overlap? Why were Romantic authors so nervous about being classed with their contemporaries? What role does gender play in these genre debates? We will examine these and other questions as we explore foundational Gothic and Romantic texts, ranging from Lewis's The Monk and Radcliffe's The Italian to works such as Wordsworth's “Preface to Lyrical Ballads,” Coleridge's “Christabel,” and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. We will also engage with contemporary criticism of both Gothic and Romantic works. The class will involve lively discussion, student presentations, and two papers—one short (5-6 page) midterm paper and one final paper. Applicable English Cluster: H1ENG012 (Poems, Poetry, and Poetics).
This course explores modern prose works that push the limits
of what a novel or short story can do. We will study the development of magical
realism and the carnivalesque—literary modes that use chaos, satire,
and a focus on the body to challenge the assumptions of realism. We will see
what modernity becomes in the hands of hustlers, carnies, and itinerants. Readings
include work by Djuna Barnes, Flannery O’Connor, Angela Carter, Italo Calvino,
Jeannette Winterson, and W. G. Sebald. Applicable English Cluster: H1ENG008 (Modern and Contemporary Literature).
We will screen and discuss approximately a dozen films that
demonstrate the history of the form, from the silent era through the present.
We will concentrate particularly on the periods when the form especially flourished,
examining not only the films, but also their connection to their time. We will
study such movies as Metropolis, The Thing from Another World, Blade
Runner, and The Terminator; use a critical text on science fiction
film; and write some papers on the films. Applicable English Clusters: H1FMS001 (The Art of Film), H1FMS002 (Gender and Writing), H1ENG008 (Modern and Contemporary Literature),
H1ENG016 (Media, Culture, and Communication).