21L.006 American Gothic

At the dark heart of American literature lies a fascination with all that is wild, alien, and deeply disturbing. From nightmarish Puritan sermons and Indian-captivity narratives, to the fever dreams of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, to profound meditations on national sin (Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Emily Dickinson, Octavia Butler) to fixations on the precarious self in a world of horrors (Mark Twain, Henry James, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Louise Erdrich, Toni Morrison), American authors have found creative inspiration in Gothic imaginings. In this CI-H class, with close attention to writing and communication skills, students will explore a range of forms—stories, poems, memoir, novels, film—through class discussion, essays, oral presentations, and a final project.