Course Description

Mystery, fear, obsession, and romance mark the genre of Gothic fiction, a tradition that women have long been involved in—as authors, characters, and readers.  This class focuses on how women helped create, develop, and revise the Gothic genre, often adding gender considerations to more traditional Gothic elements.  We’ll explore themes of dangerous fathers and absent mothers, domestic entrapment within patriarchal societies, repressed female sexuality, and transgressive behavior among women.  We’ll also examine issues of intersectionality and race, exploring how women writers of color have adopted the Gothic tradition as their own. The authors we read will range from Mary Shelley and Jane Austen to more contemporary writers such as Shirley Jackson, Joyce Carol Oates, and Toni Morrison.

Required Texts:

  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
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