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"a comet was combing its hair"

Happy birthday to the spectacular elicia8, one of the very first friends I made through LiveJournal. I hope you have a fantastic day today, and many, many more!

In other news...

* Valancourt Books has several new titles available this month, including works by Bram Stoker and Arthur Conan Doyle.

* Mirror Box is having a "Behold The Great Pumpkin Halloween and Harvest Contest" with lots of great giveaways. No purchase is necessary, but all entries must be in by noon (PST) on August 25, 2007. Learn more here.

* The upper-division seminar I am teaching this semester is "History and the Gothic Imagination," and I am very excited about it.

Course Description:

The Gothic literary tradition began in the mid-eighteenth century in Europe and lives on in various forms across the globe through contemporary fiction, poetry, art, music, film, and television. Mad scientists, blasted heaths, abandoned ruins, elusive ghosts, charming vampires, and even little green men people its stories. With ingredients such as a highly developed sense of atmosphere, extreme emotions including fear and awe, and emphases on the mysterious and the paranormal, Gothic works tend to express anxieties about social, political, religious, and economic issues of the time, as well as rejection of prevailing modes of thought and behavior. Using classic texts and the latest multimedia sources, this course will investigate the fascinating and subversive Gothic imagination (from the haunted castles of Horace Walpole to the threatening aliens of H.P. Lovecraft, from Frankenstein to The X-Files), identify the historical conditions that have inspired it, consider how it has developed across time and place and medium, and explore how it has left its indelible imprint on the modern genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

Virtual Office: dr_sturgis
Class Blog: history_gothic

Recommended Websites:

The Gothic Experience

The Gothic Literature Page at Zittaw Press

The Gothic: Materials for Study

The Gothic Novel

Horror Masters Archive

The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies

“Reading the Gothic” podcast

Valancourt Books

The Delights of Terror

Required Texts:

Three Gothic Novels: The Castle of Otranto; Vathek; Frankenstein edited by Peter Fairclough, Penguin Classics, ISBN 0-1404303-6-9

The Veiled Picture; or, The Mysteries of Gorgono by Ann Radcliffe, Valancourt Books, ISBN 0-9777841-7-7

The Magic Goblet by Emilie Flygare-Carlén, Valancourt Books, ISBN 0-9792332-9-1

Coraline by Neil Gaiman, HarperTrophy, ISBN 0-3808073-4-3

The X-Files episode “Beyond the Sea” - Season 1, Disc 4 – (1993)

The Others film (2001)

Additional short story, novella, and essays texts are online or available from Dr. Sturgis
(Includes "Introductory Class Notes," “The Gothic Phenomenon in The Castle of Otranto” by Clifford J. Kurkowski, "Individual and Social Psychologies of the Gothic: Introduction," “'Strange and Fearful Imaginations’: Rediscovering the Terror of Baron de la Motte Fouqué” by Amy H. Sturgis, “Undine” by Baron de la Motte Fouqué, “The Poe Bug” by S.J. Chambers, student's choice of either "The Fall of the House of Usher" or "The Premature Burial" by Edgar Allan Poe, "Carmilla” by J. Sheridan Le Fanu, “H.P. Lovecraft: Master of Disgust” by Laura Miller, student's choice of either "The Call of Cthulhu" or "The Colour Out Of Space" by H.P. Lovecraft, and “Forbidden Brides Of The Faceless Slaves in the Nameless House of the Night of Dread Desire” by Neil Gaiman.)

Also required: One additional novel of student’s choice from the following list:

Vathek by William Thomas Beckford (1786)

The Castle of Wolfenbach by Eliza Parsons (1793)

Caleb Williams (Things as They Are; or The Adventures of Caleb Williams) by William Godwin (1794)

The Monk by Matthew Lewis (1794)

Wieland or The Transformation: An American Tale by Charles Brockden Brown (1798)

The Magic Ring by Baron de la Motte Fouqué (1813)

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (1817)

Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Robert Maturin (1820)

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg (1824)

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847)

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1890-1891)

The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells (1896)

Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (1898)

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (1910)

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (1938)

Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham (1951)

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (1954)

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (1962)

The Shining by Stephen King (1977)

Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987)

Sunshine by Robin McKinley (2003)

Also required: One additional film of student’s choice from the following list:

Nosferatu (1929)

Dracula (1931)

Frankenstein (1931)

The Seventh Victim (1943)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Psycho (1960)

Village of the Damned (1960)

Carnival of Souls (1962)

The Haunting (1963)

Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

The Omen (1976)

Alien (1979)

Poltergeist (1982)

Blade Runner (1982)

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

The Crow (1994)

Dark City (1998)

Stigmata (1999)

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

The Skeleton Key (2005)

Recommended Texts:

The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction edited by Jerrold E. Hogle, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-79466-8

A Companion to the Gothic edited by David Punter, Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 0-631-23199-4

The Gothic by David Punter and Glennis Byron, Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 0-631-22063-1

"Somewhere a star was going nova, a black hole was vacuuming space, a comet was combing its hair." - Kate Wilhelm, "Mrs. Bagley Goes to Mars" (1978)


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 21st, 2007 12:39 pm (UTC)
That looks cool :o)

I'm doing Gothic light with my much lower level students. e do some short stories and then some Poe. Incidentally, the link to The Poe Bug isn't working :o(
Aug. 21st, 2007 12:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! We'll be looking at art and music, among other things, in our blog assignments.

Your students are so fortunate! It's wonderful that you're introducing them to such great material.

Thanks for the heads up re: "The Poe Bug." I think I've fixed the link, so it should work now!
Aug. 21st, 2007 01:55 pm (UTC)
Possibly of interest is this anime series currently being released Stateside called Le Chevalier d'Eon which has a very strong Gothic feel to it. The central character d'Eon was a real life French spy of the 18th century who is best remembered for being a highly skilled woman impersonator. If most anime turns you off, this one avoids the common stereotypes associated with anime to the degree where virtually all charaters have proportionally correct eyes.
Aug. 21st, 2007 09:45 pm (UTC)
Oooh, this is definitely of interest! Thanks so much for the heads up. I'm going to check this out.

have proportionally correct eyes

LOL! This I have to see! ;)

I really appreciate the recommendation.

Aug. 21st, 2007 02:29 pm (UTC)
Yes, Happy Birthday to Elicia!

My mother had Nosferatu on VHS when I was a kid. Still the scariest vampire movie out there. Loved Bladerunner. Mom also had Metropolis, which was very good. Sounds like a very cool class!
Aug. 21st, 2007 09:46 pm (UTC)
I love Metropolis, too. I recently rewatched Nosferatu to see if it was as scary as I remembered, and it is! :)

Thanks for the kind words about the class. It's my first time teaching it, and I'm excited to see what works.
Aug. 21st, 2007 09:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the birthday wishes, dear! *hugs*
Aug. 22nd, 2007 11:58 am (UTC)
*huge hugs* You're most welcome! Thank you for being you. :)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )