British and American Gothic Fiction
English 560, Spring 2011
Go directly to:
Office: (973) 353-5204; 531 Hill Hall.
Hours: Monday and Wednesday, 9:00–10:00, and by
appointment (appointments are best).
Home: (609) 882-4642 (before 10:00 p.m.!).
E-mail: jlynch @
andromeda.rutgers.edu (the best way to reach me).
- Written Assignments: There will be two
argumentative and analytical papers, the first of around ten
pages (2,500 words), the second either a new
paper of around ten pages, or an expansion of your first
paper to fifteen to twenty pages (3,500 to 5,000 words).
- Presentations: Each student will be
responsible for two ten-minute presentations over the course of
the semester. One will be concerned with the immediate context of
the week's reading in its own time — including the author's
biography, the book's reception, and its connection to other
contemporary cultural trends — and the other will be
concerned with the book's subsequent critical history and its
place in critical discussions today. Reports should not
exceed ten minutes and, while you're welcome to speak from notes,
by no means should you just read a written text aloud. A
good report will raise as many fruitful questions as possible and
get discussion rolling. Anything that will help — handouts,
short readings for the rest of the class — is welcome and
encouraged. Dry catalogues of facts (authors' birth and death
dates, places of residence, schools attended, and so on) are
unlikely to be of much interest.
- Readings: The readings will be pretty heavy
and therefore, I'm afraid, a little expensive though not,
I hope, unmanageable. I've picked the cheapest reputable editions
I can find. The following books are, or will soon be, available
from New Jersey Books. If
you already own editions of these books, there's no need to buy
them again; if you don't, though, try to get these editions:
Other materials are available either on-line (linked from this
syllabus) or through Blackboard.
- Four Gothic Novels: The Castle of Otranto; Vathek; The
Monk; Frankenstein, Oxford, ISBN: 0192823310
- Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, Vintage, ISBN:
- Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho, Oxford,
- Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights, Oxford,
- Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness and Other
Tales, Oxford, ISBN: 0199536015
- Bram Stoker, Dracula, Oxford, ISBN: 0199535930
- Flannery O'Connor, Wise Blood, Farrar, Straus
and Giroux, ISBN: 0374530637
Schedule of Class Meetings
- 19 Jan.
- Introduction: Class business,
- 26 Jan.
- Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (1764);
Clara Reeve, “Address to the Reader” from The Champion of
Virtue (1777) and “Preface” to The Old English
- 2 Feb.
- William Beckford, Vathek (1782–87); George
Haggerty, “Literature and Homosexuality in the Late Eighteenth
Century: Walpole, Beckford, and Lewis.”
- 9 Feb.
- Matthew Lewis, The Monk (1796); Samuel Taylor
Coleridge, review of The Monk; Edmund
Burke, selection from A
Philosophical Inquiry into . . . the Sublime and the
- 16 Feb.
- Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794);
L. Andrew Cooper, “The Role of Danger in the Critical Evaluation
of The Monk and The Mysteries of
- 23 Feb.
- Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho (continued);
Anna Letitia Aikin, “On the Pleasure Derived from Objects of
- 2 March
- Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (written 1798;
published 1817); Richard Lansdown, “‘Rare in
Burlesque’: Northanger Abbey.”
- 9 March
- Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818); John
Vampyre” (1819); Ronald Paulson, “Gothic Fiction and the
French Revolution.” First Paper Due.
- 16 March
- No Class: Spring Break.
- 23 March
- Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Young
Goodman Brown” (1835), “The
Minister's Black Veil” (1836), and “Rappaccini's
Daughter” (1844); Edgar Allan Poe, “Ligeia”
(1838), “The Fall of the House of Usher” (1839),
“Masque of the Red Death” (1842), “The Black
Cat” (1843), “The Tell-Tale Heart” (1843), and
“The Cask of Amontillado” (1846); Sigmund Freud,
- 30 March
- Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights (1847);
Daniel Cottom, “I Think; Therefore, I Am Heathcliff.”
- 6 April
- Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The
Yellow Wallpaper” (1892); Joseph Conrad, Heart of
Darkness (1899); H. P. Lovecraft, “The
Picture in the House” (1921); Jennifer Lipka,
“‘The Horror! The Horror!’: Joseph Conrad's
Heart of Darkness as a Gothic Novel.”
- 13 April
- Bram Stoker, Dracula (1897); Kathleen L.
Spencer, “Purity and Danger: Dracula, the Urban
Gothic, and the Late Victorian Degeneracy Crisis.”
- 20 April
- Flannery O'Connor, Wise Blood (1952); Jeffrey
Gray, “'It's Not Natural': Freud's ‘Uncanny’
and O'Connor's Wise Blood.”
- 27 April
- The Gothic in popular culture: Stephenie Meyer,
Twilight, chapter 13 (photocopy); music available
through Blackboard; film clips:
Final Paper Due.