Rise of the novel from Defoe to Austen.
The Gothic Novel
What does it mean when we say a text is Gothic? How does the Gothic affect us, its readers or viewers? The Gothic has often coincided with moments of great societal change or transitional time periods. In difficult times particularly, we may find the Gothic’s dark vision intriguing, alluring, and cathartic. In this course, we will explore the different elements of the Gothic – its alignment with the marginal, “other” sexualities, transgression, the sublime, terror, horror, darkness, antiquity, and possible resistance to female oppression. The Gothic became one of the most prominent literary modes of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, from poems and plays to tales and novels. We will read the first Gothic novel, Horace Walpole’s Castle of Otranto (1764), as well as two related novels, Matthew Lewis’s The Monk (1797) and Ann Radcliffe’s The Italian (1797). We will finish the term with Jane Austen’s satirical Northanger Abbey (1817); completed 1803). This course will introduce students to literary theory, from narrative theory to psychoanalysis, as well as examine text, architecture, and paintings of the period.
Arts & Letters (A&L) courses create meaningful opportunities for students to engage actively in the modes of inquiry that define a discipline. Courses are broad in scope and demonstrably liberal in nature (that is, courses that promote open inquiry from a variety of perspectives). Though some courses may focus on specialized subjects or approaches, there will be a substantial course content locating that subject in the broader context of the major issues of the discipline. Qualifying courses will not focus on teaching basic skills but will require the application or engagement of those skills through analysis and interpretation.
Literature, 1500-1789 courses focus on writings during the period of European exploration and colonization -- from the early English Renaissance to the late eighteenth-century -- in order to foster familiarity with key works in British and American literary history. Literary history illustrates how literary works reflect, address, and resist the social and political environments in which they are produced as well as other works that have preceded them. The study of early periods in particular sensitizes readers to historical transformations of the language itself.
English Minor courses offer students centuries of cultural experience and representation in poetry, prose, drama, film, TV, new media, and folk artifacts. The English minor can focus and extend the values of a liberal arts education, while also providing extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.