This class focuses on two eminent writers of Gothic American literature in the nineteenth century: Edgar Allan Poe and Harriet Prescott Spofford. While Poe has long been acknowledged as key figure of this classic period of Gothic American literature, Harriet Prescott Spofford’s reputation and writings suffered the fate of those of many nineteenth-century women writers, who were well-known and widely read at their time: Spofford was forgotten until the 1980s, when revisionist scholars recovered many of her novels and short fiction. This course explores the American Gothic as a mode of narration and an aesthetic, including but not limited to its gendered concerns regarding individual and collective horrors, whether these are related to the human unconscious, body, or mind, or whether these are related to questions of empire, race, or the unknowability of supernatural and posthuman forces. As Stephen L. Crow states, the study of Gothic American literature “offers essential insights into the history and culture of the United States” (A Companion to American Gothic, 2014). Please purchase and read the following reading materials: Edgar Allan Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838), preferably the Broadview Press edition; and Harriet Prescott Spofford’s Sir Rohan’s Ghost (1860). Other reading materials and secondary literature will be available on Stud.IP at the beginning of the semester.
The course is part of admission "Anmeldung gesperrt (global)".
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