Reading & Composition
This course teaches critical reading and writing skills through a survey of “horror” as a discrete literary genre, a wider narrative mode, and a feeling. Students will practice formal analysis of texts in a variety of media including short fiction, poetry, comics, and film, and consider the horrible resources of each medium. They will also enter into existing critical conversations after reading some theories of horror as a genre and cultural symptom. Among others to be determined together, course texts will include fiction by Mary Shelley, H.P. Lovecraft, Franz Kafka, Octavia Butler, and Junji Ito, and the films Night of the Living Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Candyman. Some questions we might ask include: What is a monster, and what isn’t? Why is there more than one slasher film? What if the haunted house is public housing? Which are scarier, children or adults?
Students will write, peer-review, and rewrite a series of literary-critical essays, with the goal of fostering attentive reading and viewing, imaginative analysis, and bold writing.
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (Norton Critical Edition, 978-0-393-92793-1). Other texts provided.