ENGL 100/003: Reading and Writing About Language and Literatures (September 2022)

ENGL 100/003: Reading and Writing About Language and Literatures

Term 1 | MWF 11:00-12:00p

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Haunted Houses

“What is a ghost? A tragedy condemned to repeat itself time and again? An instant of pain, perhaps. Something dead which still seems to be alive. An emotion suspended in time. Like a blurred photograph. Like an insect trapped in amber.” – The Devil’s Backbone (dir. Guillermo Del Toro)

Where is the fascination, even when the deepest mysteries of the universe are being scientifically unlocked, in stories of haunted houses? What accounts for the lure, and even the enjoyment, of tales of terror and horror, even in the 21st century? This course examines the Gothic influence in texts where collisions of past and present, and implications of the uncanny, allow fascinating investigations of social codes and their transgression.

Core texts include Henry James, The Turn of the Screw; Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House; Sarah Waters, The Little Stranger; Helen Oyeyemi, White is for Witching; and The Others (dir. Alejandro Amenábar), as well as Gardner and Diaz, Reading and Writing About Literature (5th edition). Through readings in current criticism and theory, we will develop strategies for textual analysis in literary and cultural studies. We will also consider the difficulty, if not impossibility, of reaching a “fixed” or consensus reading of any text.

Evaluation will be based on a midterm essay, a term paper requiring secondary academic research, a final examination, and participation in discussion.

Keep checking this post for updates concerning the course, its texts, and its requirements.

See Recent Posts or Archives (May 2022) in the right sidebar menu for descriptions of my other 2022-23 courses. See Archives (February 2022) for descriptions of my Summer 2022 courses.

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