English - Free topic C: Dark Worlds in English and American Literature

Course content

What happens when what is ordinary and familiar to us suddenly turns eerie and strange? Freud captured it in the coinage “the uncanny” and Lacan wrote about states of mind where we cannot distinguish between pleasure and displeasure. This course covers eighteenth century English Gothic fiction and representations of dark worlds in contemporary American film and literature.

 

DARK WORLDS IN ENGLISH GOTHIC FICTION (Katrine Wonge Lohmann)

A gloomy castle, an evil villain, a persecuted heroine and supernatural elements – the basic recipe for a bestselling novel, as it looked when Horace Walpole initiated the new genre, the Gothic fiction, with his Castle of Otranto (1765). This course on Gothic fiction introduces you to the Gothic genre as it looked in the eighteenth century. This includes reading the bestselling authors of the time, Ann Radcliffe and Matthew Lewis, and discussing the two major differing lines of Gothic; namely, terror- and horror- gothic. You will also become acquainted with publication history, as we look at the circulating libraries, in particular The Minerva Press, which published imitations of Radcliffe and Lewis’ works. By the end of the course, you should know not only which characteristics the genre typically entailed, but also how it developed through the Romantic period. Preliminary Reading List

Novels

  • The Mysteries of Udolpho – Ann Radcliffe (1794)
  • The Italian – Ann Radcliffe (1797)
  • The Monk – Matthew Lewis (1796)
  • The Children of the Abbey – Regina Maria Roche (1796)

 

Articles

  • ‘On the Supernatural in Poetry’ – Ann Radcliffe (1826)

 

DARK WORLDS IN AMERICAN FICTION (I.B. Siegumfeldt)

What happens when what is ordinary and familiar to us suddenly turns eerie and strange? Freud captured it in the coinage “the uncanny” and Lacan wrote about states of mind where we cannot distinguish between pleasure and displeasure. In this course we will take a close look at different representations of literary and cinematic worlds darkened by more or less preternatural events informed by critical study of such themes as post-apocalypse, trauma, invisibility, insanity, murder and necrophilia. A provisional reading list counts E.A. Poe, “The Fall of the House of Usher,” 1839, The Pawnbroker, dir. Sidney Lumet, 1964, Cormac McCarthy, The Road, 2006.

Classes, with particular emphasis on reading primary and secondary texts, oral discussion and developing proficiency in English.

This course only leads to exams Free Topic 1, Free Topic 2 and Free Topic 3.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
ECTS
15 ECTS
Type of assessment
Portfolio, A joint portfolio uploaded in digital exam: Deadline January 6th 2021
A joint portfolio for the two courses counting 20-25 pages (1 slide equals 1 page) which will consist of:

• A power point presentation (app. 5 slides) at a student conference based on a synopsis and bibliography (app. 5 pages) in the course Dark Worlds in American Fiction. Deadline week 48. The synopsis counts as ½ of the final grade.
• An essay (10-15 pages) on set question(s) in the course Dark Worlds in English Gothic Fiction. Deadline week 44. The essay counts as ½ of the final grade.
Criteria for exam assessment

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 353,5
  • English
  • 409,5