Forms of Horror
English 200 C
Summer 2015, A Term
Course Canvas page:
Office Hours: Mondays 10:00-12:00
ENGL 200: Reading Literary Forms: Forms of Horror
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Norton Critical Edition.
Readings that I will make available in class or on our Canvas site.
You will need $10-20 for streaming films.
Please let me know if you need accommodation of any sort. I can work in conjunction with the University of Washington Disability Resources for Students Office (DRS) to provide what you require (http://www.washington.edu/students/drs/). I’m also very willing to take suggestions specific to this class to meet your needs.
The eighteenth century is known as the Age of Enlightenment and Reason, but this course will focus on the darker side of this time period and its influence on modern horror. From moldering castles, murderous monks, virtuous maidens, and depraved desires to demonic children, serial killers, and the walking dead, this course will trace continuities and shifts of horror in its various forms. What is the distinction between terror and horror? How do these texts indicate discontent with cultural boundaries? And how does horror, with its focus on the human psyche, reflect larger concerns about social dynamics? We will begin with the Gothic and theories of terror and the sublime by Anna Laeticia Barbauld, Nathan Drake, and Edmund Burke. With this grounding, we will spend some time with Mary Shelley’s (arguably) Gothic novel Frankenstein and some film adaptations of it. We will move on to American nightmares depicted in film. The course will end on postmodern depictions of dread in film and/or J-Horror. Some of the films we will examine will contain graphic and disturbing subject matter.
By the end of this course, you should be able to do the following:
- Perform close readings of complex literary texts, secondary criticism, and films.
- Offer analysis and commentary on texts discussed in class.
- Write thoughtfully and persuasively about the texts we read by creating and defending complex, narrowly defined, arguable claims.
- Use textual evidence effectively.
- Offer insightful and original interpretations of literature and film.
Assignments and logistics:
English 200C is a W credit course, thus it will be writing intensive. For this class, you will be writing two formal essays. They will each be 5-6 pages long, due in weeks three and five. These essays should be carefully planned, peer-reviewed, and revised at least once before being turned in. While I will assign topics for you to write about, I am open to your ideas as well, so please feel free to come and see me if you have other ideas. In this course we will learn that writing is a process, so please take time to do pre-writing work, including but not limited to, notes, outlines, and drafts. All papers must be typed in 12 point Times New Roman font, double-spaced with standard margins, in MLA format, and stapled. I expect papers to be delivered by the deadline assigned. However, if you feel that you cannot meet a deadline for any reason, please come see me and we can discuss a deadline that you feel more comfortable with. The late penalty for the formal essays is a deduction of 0.5 for each day they are late, including weekend days.
Responses and Peer Reviews: 15% You will be expected to post several short responses on our Canvas page throughout the quarter and to review drafts of your peers’ essays. The response assignments are meant to help your critical thinking about the texts we read, and will hopefully spark stimulating in-class discussion. The peer reviews will ensure that you engage in the writing process.
Homework and Participation: 25%This part of the grade includes in-class work, group work, and quizzes. I strongly believe that the best way for one to develop reading and analytical skills is by participating and sharing your ideas with others in discussion. In addition, your prompt and respectful attendance is very important for class discussion to succeed. You can expect daily group work and in-class writing. This will be true of the days that we screen films as well, so please attend all classes.
The wireless seminar room and computer lab present the temptation of email and the web; therefore, students must follow basic ground rules:
- Students should switch off and stow their cell phones before class begins.
- Students will not type when somebody is addressing the class.
- Students will not text, check email, electronically chat, update their social networking status or surf the web during class, unless instructed to do so.
Lack of engagement in class activities, inadequate preparation, and failure to adhere to lab classroom rules will substantially lower your participation grade for the course.
Furthermore, class time will be composed of discussion, group exercises, peer reviews, and in-class writing responses. Please be prepared to collaborate and participate; not only are they crucial components of your grade for the course, but the class will be much more engaging because of it.
Plagiarism is the representation of another’s words or ideas as your own. This can include paraphrasing an idea from an author without giving proper credit, copying phrases or paragraphs from another student’s essay or an outside source without quoting, or buying a paper to turn in as your own.
I will investigate any suspicious papers thoroughly and follow through with discipline according to University policy. I know how easy it is to find summaries or even entire papers on the Internet – it is just as easy for me to check to see if that is where a suspicious paper came from. Plagiarism can result in a failed grade, four years of academic probation, a permanent mark on your academic transcript, or dismissal from the University. Plagiarism is cheating, and I will not tolerate it.
Please come talk to me if you are feeling overwhelmed by academic pressure or if you are confused about how to distinguish an author’s ideas from your own. I would much rather help you through the writing process than report you for plagiarism. Ultimately, plagiarism requires more work than writing your own paper and results in much more heartache.
This schedule is subject to change. If you must miss class, it is your responsibility to coordinate with your classmates to find out what you missed when you were absent. I will not go over what you missed during office hours, I will not meet with you to cover the same, nor will I respond to inquiries via email about what you missed in class.
Some of you may have a unique situation that will make it difficult for you to work within the above guidelines. If this is the case, please discuss it with me within the first week of the quarter so that we can anticipate problems and be prepared to make alternate arrangements.
Monday, June 22nd: Introduction to the course
Reading: Jerrold E. Hogle, “Introduction: the Gothic in western culture” and Anna Letitia Aiken (Barbauld) and John Aiken, “On the Pleasure Derived from Objects of Terror, with Sir Bertrand, a Fragment” and Nathan Drake, “On Terror” (Drake and Hogle are on Canvas under Files/Readings.
You can find the Barbauld reading here: http://www.english.upenn.edu/~mgamer/Etexts/barbauldessays.html
Tuesday, June 23rd: Discuss Gothic, Terror, and Horror
Reading: Frankenstein, Volume 1
Wednesday, June 24th:
Reading Frankenstein, Volume 2
Thursday, June 25th:
Frankenstein, Volume 3 Essay 1 assigned
Response on Frankenstein
Monday, June 29th: Screening: James Whale’s Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Reading: Elizabeth Young, “Here Comes the Bride: Wedding Gender and Race in Bride of Frankenstein”
Tuesday, June 30th: Discussion
Wednesday, July 1st: Screening: Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho
Homework: Finish draft
Thursday, July 2nd: Draft of Essay 1 due. In-class peer review
Monday, July 6th:
Screening: Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Reading: Robin Wood: “An Introduction to the American Horror Film” Essays due
Tuesday, July 7th: Discussion
Reading: Screening: Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Reading: Karyn Valerius, “Rosemary’s Baby: Gothic Pregnancy, and Fetal Subjects”
Response on Rosemary’s Baby
Wednesday, July 8th: In-class Screening: George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Reading: Matt Becker, “A point of Little Hope: Hippie films and the Politics of Ambivalence”
Thursday, July 9th: Discussion
Essay 2 assigned
Homework: Screen on your own: Sean S. Cunningham’s Friday the 13th
Monday, July 13th: In-class screening John Carpenter’s Halloween (1980)
Reading: Carol Clover, “Her Body, Himself: Gender in the Slasher Film”
Tuesday, July 14th: Discussion
Wednesday, July 15tth:NO Class! Please screen: Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Reading: Judith (Jack) Haberstam, “Skin Flicks: Posthuman Gender in Jonathan’ Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs”
Thursday, July 16th: Discussion
Monday, July 20thth: Screening: Gore Verbinski The Ring (2002)
Reading: Rick Worland’s “Afterword: Our Haunted Houses”
Tuesday, July 21st: Discussion Draft of Essay 2 due. Peer Review
Wednesday, July 22nd: Final viewing TBD—Adieus!
Essay 2 due Monday, July 27th.
Forms of Horror
The eighteenth century is known as the Age of Enlightenment and Reason, but this course will focus on the darker side of this time period and its influence on modern horror. From moldering castles, murderous monks, virtuous maidens, and depraved desires to demonic children, serial killers, and the walking dead, this course will trace continuities and shifts of horror in its various forms. What is the distinction between terror and horror? How do these texts indicate discontent with cultural boundaries? And how does horror, with its focus on the human psyche, reflect larger concerns about social dynamics? We will begin with the Gothic and theories of terror and the sublime by Anna Laeticia Barbauld and Edmund Burke. With this grounding, we will spend some time with Mary Shelley’s (arguably) Gothic novel Frankenstein and some film adaptations of it.
After reading some poetry and short stories of horror, we will move on to American nightmares depicted in film. The course will end on postmodern depictions of dread in film and/or J-Horror.
Some of the films we will examine will contain graphic and disturbing subject matter.