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ENG-230-20, Gothic Fiction (SU14)

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. William Davis

SCHEDULE/DAY/TIME: T2/Saturdays/8:30-11:15, July 12, 19, 26; August 2, 9

CONTENT:

In this course we will examine selected stories, poems, and critical essays by Poe with primary emphasis given to the short stories as works of literature.  We will read Poe’s works in the context of the literary sub-genre called Gothic Fiction, as well as in the context of his theories of composition as these take shape in his critical essays, which he published in some of the leading periodicals of his day.  We will also devote some attention to the biographical backgrounds of some of the works and to Poe’s place in American literary history.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

1. To define the area of literature called Gothic Fiction and to appreciate Poe’s place in the literary tradition of the Gothic.

2. To develop an understanding of Poe’s theories of composition, the different sub-genres in which he wrote (one of which originated with him, and all of which were changed by him), and his implementation of his theories in his writing.

3. To develop the skills of critical reading, discussion, and writing.

METHODS: 

1. Daily readings (including poetry, Poe’s critical writings, and his stories).

2. Discussion of readings in the contexts noted above, and with background material supplied by the professor.

REQUIREMENTS AND ASSIGNMENTS: 

1. Three short critical papers (one page each):  due July 19 & 26 and August 2. (40%)

2. A final paper (two pages):  due August 9  (20 %)

3. Daily quizzes (10%)

4. Preparation of assigned guide questions for class (10%)

5. Overall class participation (20%)

REQUIRED TEXT(S) OR MATERIALS: 

Edgar Allan Poe, The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings.  Penguin.  ISBN:  9780141439815.  (This has been ordered for the Notre Dame bookstore.)

RECOMMENDED READINGS OR MATERIALS: 

*Please note:  several readings not in our text will be found on the internet.  I will provide websites on the syllabus.  These are additional required readings.

READINGS AND/OR ASSIGNMENTS TO BE DONE PRIOR TO THE FIRST CLASS:

*Have the following read and be ready to discuss on our first meeting:

1. Poems:  “Annabel Lee”; “The Sleeper”; “The Raven”

2. Stories:  “The Oval Portrait,” “Ligeia,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “Eleonora” (all in our text)

3. Story on the web:  “Berenice”:  http://eserver.org/books/poe/berenice.html )

4. Essay:  “The Philosophy of Composition” (in our text)

Please note: if you cannot attend the first class meeting, do not register for the class.