In the next 8-9 weeks, we will read a group of novels and stories and see films which exploit an attitude to reality and the imagination that is known as gothic. Since the aim of this course is to learn why and how literary works have different meanings when you read them against different backgrounds, we will examine gothic art against the backgrounds of history, autobiography, genre formation, and the development of the science of medicine, evolutionary theory, psychological analysis of archetypes in human experience, and a consequent loss of religious faith in the 19th and 20th century.
We will begin with Ann Radcliffe's The Romance of the Forest, Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, and the 1995 Mirage-Columbia/SONY film, Sense and Sensibility (directed by Ang Lee; screenplay Emma Thompson). Here we will define what is meant by the term gothic as opposed to the terms realistic and romantic, and study two of the earliest gothic romantic novels.
We will then read a pair of novels by a father and daughter, William Godwin's Things as They Are; or the Adventures of Caleb Williams and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus, and see the 1995 Tristar film, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (directed byKenneth Branagh; screenplay Steph Lady and Frank Darabout). This time we will see how the gothic emerged from a specific era, that of the French revolution, and how it lends itself to radical social criticism from an anarchist or leftist as well as reactionary or conservative point of view.
Our last pair of single novels, Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde and its sequel, Valerie Martin's Mary Reilly (1990), together with a film adapation of both novels, the 1996 Tristar Mary Reilly (directed by Stephen Frears; screenplay Christopher Hampton) will enable us to explore the archetypcal motifs and themes which recur in many gothics (e.g., the doppelgänger figure, fear and anxiety, death, sadomasochistic sex) in the context of our own era. We will also learn how the first person point of view and atemporal narrative intensify the gothic effect.
Throughout the course we will also read short gothic fictions and meditations on romance and ghost tales. The gothic fictions and meditations on romance are to be found in the appendices of the Penguin editions of Caleb Williams, Frankenstein and the Broadview edition of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and are chosen for their relevance to our six major texts and three movies. The ghost tales are a selection from Michael Cox and R. A. Gilbert's The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories. A subgenre of the gothic, ghost tales distill fantasy in ways that highlight the preoccupations of longer more realistic gothic narratives: they will enable us to explore how the gothic comes out of and speaks to primal insecurities; how it figures forth a picture of nature and the supernatural as cruel, indifferent, and mischievous; and how patterns of evil, guilt, justice provide paradigms through which we are invited to experience the uncanny.
If you are interested in the films and want to use them in your journal- essays, it is suggested that, if possible, you obtain the published screenplays of the first two: Thompson, Emma. Sense and Sensiblity: Screenplay and Diaries. (New York: Newmarket Press, 1996) ISBN 1-55704-292-6; Branagh, Kenneth. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: Screenplay and Essays. (New York: Newmarket Press, 1996) ISBN 1-55704-208-X
In this class you will be asked to read and to demonstrate you have read and thought about all six required books by writing six good journal essays. You will also be asked to do one short talk on one of the short gothic tales, meditations on romance, and ghost stories assigned throughout the term. At the end of the semester, there will be a short answer test on all of these.
1) You are asked to write three journal-essays outside class, one on each pair of novels we read. These are our "set journals" and are to be numbered (1, 2, and 3). What is a book journal? See attachment entitled Directed Journal Entry (or, how to write an essay with guidelines) and student model. You are asked to follow the guideliness religiously in order to explore on paper what you have thought and felt after reading a text or seeing a movie, using language that comes naturally to you communicate your ideas and feelings a genuine or sincere response of your own. The aim of the writing component in my course is to help you learn to read better and respond more thoughtfully to books and films in such a way as to communicate to others what you gained from such experiences. I invite you to learn how to weave information you gather from class or the introductory material in your books about the author's life and period, and words drawn from your text of film with your own thoughts. I require you to read or see nothing outside the required texts and movies. However, if you do not adhere to the guidelines (for example, your plot summary must not be more than 1 paragraph; your analysis of text must be 2-3 pages) I will simply return your journal unread to you with an unpleasant "F."
Due dates for the set journals: you are asked to hand your work in on the day specified in the calendar; if a journal or the story is a session late, I will take down the grade an element for every sessions it is late (a B+ becomes a B, then a B- and so on).
You can revise the journals if you like. Then if your grade for the second version is higher than the first, I average the two grades together to form a single grade for each. If your grade on the second version is the same or lower, I ignore it.
2) You are asked to give a 5 minute talk on a story, tale, or essay-meditation that will be assigned to you by next Tuesday. The talks will begin the third week of the semester. The idea is to practice inventing a clear thesis-statement which is supported by concrete details from a text or your own experience.
One of the aims of this course is to guide students into leaning how to talk as well as how to write about texts in an educated way. I believe everyone can learn to write more clearly and enjoy writing more if he or she would only realise that writing is directly related to talking, that the best and most vivid writing occurs when we seem to talkon paper. You can begin to learn to do this by using the real language he or she might use in the classroom or any other natural situation which demands a certain coherence (see Trimble's Writing with Style). To do well in middle class occupations outside the classroom also demands that you learn how to present yourself attractively and sell your point of view. By asking you to do a short talk you learn to attempt to communicate your thoughts to someone else in an ordered respected fashion
The whole class will listen and try to respond; their response will tell the student whether he or she has made him or herself clear; the ensuing dialogue and the student's own later thoughts about either what happened when he or she or another student talked will (it is hoped) teach everyone something about the basis of writing -- again, clear thinking in clear language which comes naturally to the speaker-writer.
To have everyone talk on a different short piece will also make the course more enjoyable. We will get all our many points of view, begin to know one another, and break up our long sessions entertainingly.
3) I would prefer you to read them as they are assigned for then you will get the most out of the short talks whose topics will (it is hoped) lead the student speaker to shed light on our longer books. However, even if you don't, I still want everyone to read all the short pieces. Thus we will have a short answer test on all the assigned short pieces in the penultimate week of the term.
If you would like to bring your grade up, you can do more journals or revise the journals you have handed in. If you decide to revise a journal, the grade for the first and second versions will be averaged together to form a single grade for that journal.
'Extra credit' journals can be based on the following choices: 1) you can write a comparison of Ann Radcliffe's The Romance of the Forest or Jane Austen's Sense and Sensiblity with Valerie Martin's Mary Reilly; 2) you can write a journal-essay on William Godwin's Caleb Williams and Robert Louis Stevenson's 'A Chapter of Dreams' and 'Markheim'; or 3) you can write a comparison of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde; 5) you can write a comparison of Jane Austen's novel with Ang Lee and Emma Thompson's film adaptation; or Mary Shelley's novel with Kenneth Branagh's film adaptation; or Valerie Martin and/or Robert Louis Stevenson's novel with Stephen Frears's film adaptation; and finally, 5) you can write on a pair of short stories or gothic tales other than those assigned which you have already written upon; or more of the suggested books or selections therefrom. Consult me before going ahead on any of the above.
If you are disappointed in your grade for the short answer test, you can compensate (get extra credit) by writing an extra credit journal on a combination of any three or four of the shorter pieces we have discussed over the semester.
In this course a number of our texts are so commonly assigned in college courses that there are Cliff and Monarch Notes available and sites on the Internet where you may copy or buy ready-made essays; they are also popular books and there are many films adapted from them whch are available at videocassette stores. Thus I will be especially on the lookout for plagiarism. DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Plagiarism is defined by the GMU English Department as follows:
'"Plagiarism means using words, opinions, or factual information from another person without giving that person credit. Writers give credit through accepted documentation styles, such as parenthetical citation, footnotes, or end notes; a simple listing of books and articles consulted is not sufficient. Plagiarism is the equivalent of intellectual robbery and cannot be tolerated in an academic setting."
If I suspect you of, or catch you at, plagiarising, I will follow the guidelines of the English department which require that I fail such a student and report him or her to the Chair of my Department. I am serious about this.
1) I ask that you attend class and do the outside work: I believe something is to be gained by coming to class, and that we all can learn a great deal from one another. Thus, I expect everyone to come faithfully, to read all assigned texts, and to see the required movies with us.
2) I hope that you participate in class. To do this you have to have read most of the text due to be read for a given session. Our class may be too large and some of the material too unfamiliar or hard for everyone to participate. Some people are shy to speak in public. So I knowI will often have simply to do the talking and read aloud from the books. Nevertheless, I will try my best to ask questions which generate discussion and follow up on any questions or comments students like to make.
3) Even when you have not read a text or seen the movie, it is better to come than to cut cut class. You learn nothing when you stay away.
Your grade will be reflect the work you have done over this 8-9 week term. By the end of this time I should have for each student a minimum of eight grades, one for each of three journals, one for a short talk, and one for the short-answer test. These grades will be averaged together to form one final grade. If a student has done extra credit journals, he or she will have more grades to be averaged in. I then take into account your attendance record; your participation in class; if you came for help if you needed it; and, those journals which showed that you cared, that you really thought about your subject and made an effort to find something out about it or to explore it and to write something intelligent and coherent and complete. I recognize the value of, respect, and reward hard work when I see it and take into account someone who has journeyed from a lesser place to a better one through effort.
Write to me by e-mail: Ellen2@JimandEllen.org, email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org; you can write me 24 hours a day; I look at my mail at least twice a day, and I write back. Be sure to type the e-mail address to which you wish me to send my reply at the end of your message.
You can call the phone in the office I use (993-1176) or the English office (993- 1160) or leave a message in my box in the English Office, which is in Robinson Hall on the fourth floor. I have no voice mail, and there is no way you can fax me. It is also well to remember that I am on campus only 2 late afternoons each week. The secretaries don't call me; they simply place put a note in my box. Further, leaving essays in my box is a chancy business because materials get lost this way. No-one stands guard over the boxes. Give it to the secretary, watch him or her date and put it in the correct box, and then leave. The safest speediest way to get an essay to me is to bring it to class on time and give it to me warm hand to warm hand. Make a second hard-copy of everything you write. It's worth the money.
Private conferences to go over journals, and discuss reading or personal problems are available by appointment Tuesday and Thursday from 6:00 to 7:10 pm in Robinson Hall A455. Sign up on the stenography pad which will be placed on the corner of my desk every time the class meets.
Outside Class: for next time have read Chloe Chard's introduction to, and one-half of Ann Radcliffe's The Romance of the Forest (in the Oxford paperback edition, pp. 1-171, or Volume I, Chs 1-7, and Volume I, Chs 8-11).
In Class: Thurs, 6/1: We will define the words novel, realism, romance, and gothic, and discuss the birth of the hybrid form, the gothic and romantic novel. We'll also begin discussion of The Romance of the Forest and Emma Thompson's film called Sense and Sensibility.
Outside Class: by Tues, 6/6 finish The Romance of the Forest; and have read Margaret Drabble's introduction to Austen's Sense and Sensibility and its first two volumes (in the Signet classic paperback edition, pp. 21-216). Bring to class the model journal (go to my website and print it out. You should begin to plan how you will compare the two novels.
Outside Class: be prepared to take a topic for a 5 minute short talk. Do this by browsing the introduction to the ghost story volume and all the ghost stories listed on Short Talk Schedule; also browse Appendices 2&3 (on how Godwin came to write the novel) and Appendix 4 ('Of History and Romance') in the Penguin Caleb Williams; Appendices B & C in Frankenstein (two vampire tales); Appendix A ('A Chapter of Dreams') and Appendix B ('Markheim) and D-G (Letters, Context, Reviews of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Punch parody and 1886 stage adaptation in the Broadview Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde). Begin work on Journal #1, a comparative essay-journal on Ann Radcliffe's The Romance of the Forest and Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.
In Class: Thurs, 6/8: I will assign a short talk to each student. We'll finish discussing Radcliffe and Austen; we'll go on to William Godwin and Mary Shelley's lives, and the political and revolutionary context for their two novels.
Outside Class: By Tues, 6/13: have read Maurice Hindle's introduction to and the 1st volume of Caleb Williams (in the Penguin paperback, pp. 3-109); also Michael Cox's introduction to and history of the ghost story (pp. ix-xvii), and the stories by Walter Scott (in the Oxford ghost story volume) and George Gordon, Lord Byron and John Polidori (Appendices B & C in the Penguin Frankenstein). For Thurs (6/15), finish writing Journal #1,.
In Class: Tues, 6/13: Short Talk 1: Michael Cox on the ghost story; ; Short talk 2: Walter Scott's 'The Tapestried Chamber'; Short Talk 3: Byron and Polidori's 'A Fragment' and 'The Vampyre: A Tale' (Appendices B & C in Penguin Frankenstein). The class will discuss the relationship of ghost stories to gothics and begin Caleb Williams.
Outside Class: for Thursday have read Volume II of Caleb Williams (pp. 111-213) and Appendices 2-4 in Penguin volume; have read also Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Markheim' (in Broadview Press Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde).
In Class: Thurs, 6/15: JOURNAL #1 DUE. Short Talk 4: How Godwin came to write Caleb Williams (Appendices 2 & 3 in Penguin); Short talk 5: 'Of History and Romance', (Appendix 4 in Penguin Caleb Williams); Short talk 6: Stevenson's 'Markheim' (Appendix B in Broadview MDr Jekyll and Mr Hyde). The class will discuss the relationship of history (narratives based on supposed truths) and romances and novels; social protest and violent tales, and carry on discussing Caleb Williams
Outside Class: By Tuesday (6/20) have read the last volume of Caleb Williams (pp. 214-346); and the ghost stories by Amelia Edwards, Sheridan Le Fanu, and Mary Elizabeth Braddon in the Oxford ghost story volume.
In Class: Tues, 6/20: We'll read aloud one student journal. Short Talk 7: Amelia Edwards's 'The Phantom Coach; Short Talk 8: 'Sheridan Le Fanu's ''Squire Toby's Will'.; Short Talk 9: Mary Elizabeth Braddon's 'The Shadow in the Corner'. We'll finish our discussion of Caleb Williams. We'll begin watching Branagh's 1995 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
Outside Class: by Thursday (6/22) have read Maurice Hindle's introduction to Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, introductory material by Mary and Percy Byshe Shelley, the Prologue and Volume One (in Penguin, pp 1-86); read also Robert Louis Stevenson's 'A Chapter on Dreams', and the ghost stories by Bram Stoker, Algernon Blackwood, and Richard Middleton in the Oxford ghost story volume.
In Class: Thurs, 6/22: Short Talk 10: Stevenson's 'Chapter on Dreams' (Appendix A in the Broadview Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde); Short Talk 11: Bram Stoker's ' The Judge's House'; Short talk 12: Algernon Blackwood's 'The Empty House' and Richard Middleton's 'On the Brighton Road'. We'll finish watching Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Then turn to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein by talking of the new developments in science in her period and our own, and the doppelgänger figure.
Outside Class: by Tuesday (6/27) have read the the last two volumes and Epilogue of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (pp. 86-215); also ghost stories by W. W. Jacobs, Mary E. Wilkins, M. R. James. Begin planning how you are going to write Journal #2, a comparative essay-journal of Godwin's Caleb Williams and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
In Class: Tues, 6/27: Short talk 13: W. W. Jacobs's 'The Monkey's Paw'; Short talk 14: Mary E. Wilkins's 'The Lost Ghost'; Short talk 15: M. R. James's 'Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad'. We'll discuss Frankenstein, compare it to Caleb Williams . The ways in which Frankenstein is a female fantasy; the ways in which Dracula is a male fantasy.
Outside class: for Thursday, 6/29 read E. F. Benson, Arthur Gray, and Christopher Woodforde in Oxford ghost story volume.
In Class: Thurs, 6/29: Short talk 16: E. F. Benson 'The Confession of Charles Linkworth'; Short talk 17: Arthur Gray's 'The True History of Anthony Ffryar; Short talk 18: Christopher Woodforde's 'Cushi'. Modern vitality and relevance of Frankenstein and myths of the undead and the return of repressed feelings and beliefs.
Outside class: For Thurs (7/6) have written Journal #2. Also have read Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde; and ghost stories of A. M. Burrage, L. T. C. Rolt and Simon Raven in Oxford Ghost story volume
In Class. Thurs, 7/6: JOURNAL #2 DUE. Short talk 19: A. M. Burrage's 'Smee'; Short talk 20: L. T. C. Rolt's 'Bosworth Summit Pound'; Short talk 21: Simon Raven's ' The Bottle of 1812'. We'll discuss the life of Stevenson, Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde, and our own culture's obsessions with sex, drugs and mind-changing transformations.
Outside Class: For Tues, 7/11, read Appendices D, E, and F, in Broadview edition of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (letters, context of Bournemouth, a Punch parody, pp. 124-45); the prologue and Book 1 of Valerie Martin's Mary Reilly (in Pocketbook paperback, pp. 1-37); read also ghost stories by Hugh Walpole, Thomas Burke in Oxford ghost story volume.
In Class: Tues, 7/11: We'll read aloud one student journal. Short talk 22: Hugh Walpole's 'The Little Ghost'; Short talk 23: Thomas Burke's 'The Hollow Man'; Short Talk 24: Letters, Context, Reviews and Punch parody of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (in Broadview edition, pp. 124-45). We'll discuss Valerie Martin, her work, interest in Stevenson and the gothic, and start discussing Mary Reilly.
Outside Class: By next time, Thurs, 7/13 have read the rest of Martin's Mary Reilly (pp. 38-244); the 1886 stage adaptation of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Appendix G in Broadview edition, ppp. 146-59); and ghost stories of Elizabeth Bowen and Edith Wharton in Oxford ghost story volume.
In Class: Thurs, 7/13: Short talk 25: the 1886 stage adaptation of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Broadview edition, pp. 146-59); Short talk 26: Elizabeth Bowen's ' Hand in Glove'; Short talk 27: Edith Wharton's's 'Mr Jones'. We'll talk some more of the novel, Mary Reilly and begin watching Stephen Frears's 1996 film adaptation.
Outside class: for last session, Tues, 7/18, read two last stories in Oxford ghost story volume by Robert Aicikman & T. H. White; prepare for 20 question short answer test. You should begin thinking about how you will handle Journal #3, a comparative essay-journal on Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and its sequel, Valerie Martin's Mary Reilly
In Class: Tues, 7/18: Short Talk 28: Robert Aickman's 'The Cicerones'; Short Talk 29: T. H. White 'Soft Voices at Passenham'. Short Answer Test; finish watching the movie Mary Reilly. Last thoughts on gothics and ghosts, realism and romance.
Outside Class: For Final, Tues, 7/25 write Journal #3, also any extra credit or compensatory journals you would like to submit.
Due in this room betwen 7:20 and 8:30 pm JOURNAL #3, and any other revisions or extra credit journals which you would like to submit.