UBC Summer 2020 Term 2 (July-August); TTh 6:00-9:00 p.m. Buchanan B210
Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter
Ghosts are Real (So are Vampires): 19th-Century Gothic Terror and Horror
“Ghosts are real, this much I know” – Edith Cushing, Crimson Peak
“There are such beings as vampires; some of us have evidence that they exist” – Abraham Van Helsing, Dracula
Whether we take Edith Cushing or Abraham Van Helsing at their word, the 19th-century Gothic revival certainly emphasized possibilities for terror and horror in tales of the supernatural. However, these interventions of spectral and un-dead beings often take place in the recognizable present; they speak to its anxieties. Perhaps they speak to ours as well, given our recent fascination with Neo-Victorian representations of the 19th century, such as Penny Dreadful, From Hell, Crimson Peak, etc. We will bring a chill to summer evenings as we examine stories addressing issues of gender and sexuality; class, race, and culture; realism and the supernatural; urban and rural settings, all in a century known for developments in science and technology, social upheaval, and a veneer of respectability, yet with monsters lurking in closets and under beds.
Our focus will also permit consideration of the boom in publication of popular literature in a variety of formats, as well as the rise of the professional writer during the 19th century. Core texts tentatively include Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla, Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, and short fiction by authors including (but not limited to) M.R. James, Margaret Oliphaunt, Charlotte Riddell, Elizabeth Gaskell, E. Nesbit, and Robert Louis Stevenson.
Evaluation will be based on two short essays and a term paper, participation in discussion (both in class and on the course’s Canvas site), and an essay-based final examination.
Keep checking this post for updates concerning the course, its texts, and its requirements.