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Amherst College Special Seminar for 2015-16

Bruss Seminar

310 Female Gothic

Conceiving of the gothic as a kind of counter-narrative to Enlightenment and humanistic values, this course will explore the portrayal of women as embodied, liminal, irrational, and supernatural forces in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century novels in England and the U.S.  What kind of social forces helped bring about the emergence of narratives of excess and transgression?  How do these works conceive of female sexuality and sexual violence?  How do they think through and express the relation between reason and unreason, agency and irresponsibility?  We will also explore the rebirth of the gothic in the late twentieth- and early twenty-first centuries in the U.S., and ask what cultural forces brought it about.  Possible texts:  Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish; Charlotte Brontë, Villette; Bram Stoker, Dracula; Henry James, The Turn of the Screw; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Twilight.

Limited to 20 students.  Fall semester.  Professor Frank.

2015-16: Offered in Fall 2015