ENGL 242 D: Reading Prose Fiction

Madness, Gender, and Sexuality in Prose Fiction

Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
Heather Stansbury

Additional Details:

Madness, Gender, and Sexuality in Prose Fiction

In this course, we will examine the themes of madness, gender, and sexuality in prose fiction. How does one represent the fractured psyche? How does madness interact with power? Is madness an imaginative source of inspiration or a destructive force? How is it socially constructed? We will discuss the nature of illusion and delusion, and we will look at the roles that gender and sexuality play in the representation of insanity. We will pay close attention to the ways that authors depict the discourse of madness.

This course will be bookended by Mary Shelley. We will begin with her most famous novel, Frankenstein, and explore the ways that desire, obsession, and reproduction are represented. We will end the course on her not-so-famous novella, Mathilda, a tale of a reciprocal incestuous desire between a father and daughter. In between, we will read Nabokov’s depiction of the perverse ramblings of a raving pedophile in Lolita, and a post-colonial novel that interrogates the notion of dangerous female desire in Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea.

Expect to read some visual representation and secondary readings to accompany these texts, and of course, expect to do some writing, as this is a “W” course.

Catalog Description: 
Critical interpretation and meaning in works of prose fiction, representing a variety of types and periods.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Writing (W)
Other Requirements Met: 
Last updated: 
March 16, 2016 - 11:28am