The Supernatural in Music, Literature, and Culture

In this subject, we investigate the ways that broadly held ideas about the supernatural made their way into works of literature and some key symphonic and operatic works based on them, over a period spanning 1600 to 1960. We’ll study three aspects of the topic in roughly chronological order: Witches, Learned Magic, and Spiritualism. Materials range from the depositions of accused witches to live performances of Schubert’s songs and screenings of films such as Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood and Murnau’s silent Faust. Operas will be studied primarily through the medium of filmed performances rather than musical scores, allowing students the opportunity to experience these works as dramatic performances.