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English at URI

1660 - 1800 and beyond

Stefanie Head

Course: English 374
Spring 2008

Student Writing

The Nightmare, Henry Fuseli (1781)Is the Gothic a genre, a form, or a mode? Is the Gothic a sub-genre contained within British Romanticism, or is British Romanticism essentially gothic? Canonical tradition has understood the Gothic as sideways to Romanticism, as frivolous in the face of high Romantic idealism and sincerity. And yet it is the case that the authors who make up the high Romantic canon read gothic fiction voraciously, including William Blake, William Godwin, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, John Keats, and Jane Austen. In this course we will study gothic fiction as it emerges in the eighteenth century with the “school of Terror” writers Horace Walpole, Monk Lewis, and Ann Radcliffe. We will then move forward to the period around 1800 to study debates about the relationship of Romanticism to the Gothic. As such, we will study the close but contentious relation between what we now recognize as a “major” literary movement (British Romanticism) and a minor one (Gothicism), with special attention to works that blur the boundaries in major writers, such as William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft, Coleridge, the Shelleys, Keats, and Emily Brontë. As a final move, we will look at contemporary texts associated with the Gothic, including Neil Gaiman's graphic novel The Sandman and Sofia Coppolla's film The Virgin Suicides. In what ways does contemporary culture employ and/or transform gothic conventions? To what end?

Office & Office Hours

Independence 175B
by appointment

Course Location & Time

Quinn Hall 214
T/R 11 - 12:15pm

Required Texts

The Castle of Otranto and The Mysterious Mother. By Horace Walpole. Editor Frederick S. Frank. Broadview, 2003.
ISBN: 155111304X

Vathek with Episodes of Vathek. By William Beckford. Editor Kenneth W. Graham. Broadview, 2001.
ISBN: 1551112817

 Caleb Williams. By William Godwin. Editors Gary Handwerk and A.A. Markley. Broadview, 2000.
ISBN: 1551112493

The Italian. By Ann Radcliffe. Editor Robert Miles. Penguin, 2001.
ISBN: 0140437541

The Monk. By Matthew Lewis. Editors D.L. Macdonald and Kathleen SCherf. Broadview, 2004.
ISBN: 1551112272

Wuthering Heights. By Emily Brontë. Editor Beth Newman. Broadview, 2007.
ISBN: 1551115320

The Sandman, Volume 3: "Dream Country." By Neil Gaiman. Vertigo, 1991.
ISBN: 156389016X

The Virgin Suicides. Director Sofia Coppolla. With Danny DeVito and Kirsten Dunst. Paramount, 2000.

A Writer's Reference. By Diana Hacker. Bedford/St. Martin, 2003.
ISBN: 0312412622

Course Requirements

Participation (15%)
1 Short Essay (10%)
1 Revision (10%)
1 Long Essay (25%)
4 Quizzes (40%)