A Syllabus for a Class at the Oscher Lifelong Learning Institute at George Mason University
Exploring the Gothic
Day: 8 Tuesday afternoons, 2:15-3:40 pm, Sept 24th to Nov 11th
Tallwood, 4210 Roberts Road. Fairfax
Instructor: Ellen Moody
Description of Course:
This course explore varieties of gothic and its terrain which conform to recipe format. Take one labyrinthine or partly ruined dwelling, place inside murderous incestuous father or chained mother (preferably in a dungeon), heroes and heroines (as wanderers, nuns), stir in a tempest; have on hand blood, night-birds, and supernatural phenomena, with fore-, and back-stories set in the past. We’ll read short stories, three novellas and sample films. We’ll begin with ghosts and witches, move to vampires, werewolves, and end on socially critical mysteries and stories of the paranormal (e.g., possession). We cover terror, horror, male and female gothic. We’ll also view clips from two films considered the most powerful film gothics ever made and an Oscar winning short.
September 23: Origin, definition, history of genre, characteristics. I’ll show parts of DVD for The Haunting and The Woman in Black (if possible, otherwise substitute clip from “Afterward” from Shades of Darkness).
September 30: Stevenson, “Markheim, ” Wharton’s “Afterward” and Mary Reilly
October 7: Mary Reilly (possible clip) and F. Marion Crawford’s “For the Blood is the Life”
October 14: Stoker, “The Judge’s House,” Conan Doyle, “Adventure of Abbey Grange;” Wharton’s “Kerfol”
October 21: Vampire Tapestry (first 3 tales), LeFanu’s “Carmilla” and Oliphant’s “The Open Door”
October 28: Vampire Tapestry (last 2 tales), Stevenson, “The Body Snatchers,” Wharton, “Mr Jones”
November 4 : Dickens, “Signalman”’; M. R. James, “The Stalls of Barchester Cathedrale”; Bierce, “Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge”; A. M. Burrage’s “Smee.”
November 11: The Haunting of Hill House
Martin, Valerie. Mary Reilly. New York: Vintage, 1990. ISBN 978-0-375-72599-9. It’s available as a kindle, and there have been many editions: Doubleday 1990, Washington Square Press, 1994.
Charnas, Suzy McKee. The Vampire Tapestry. Albuquerque: Living Batch Press, 1980. It’s available as a Kindle and two newer edition: Orb Books, 2008; The Women’s Press, 1992.
Jackson, Shirley. The Haunting of Hill House. NY: Penguin 2006. ISBN978-0-14-303998-3
Online short stories:
R.L. Stevenson, “Markheim”
Edith Wharton, “Afterward”
F. Marion Crawford, “For the Blood is the Life” (scroll down)
Bram Stoker’s “The Judge’s House”
Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Adventure of Abbey Grange”
Edith Wharton, “Kerfol”
R.L. Stevenson, “The Body Snatchers”
Edith Wharton, “Mr Jones”
Sheridan LeFanu, “Carmilla”
Margaret Oliphant, “The Open Door”
Charles Dickens, “The Signalman”
M. R. James, “The Stalls of Barchester Cathedrale”
A.M. Burrage, “Smee”
For further materials on the gothic, see my website under Ghosts and gothics, vampires and witches and l’ecriture-femme; under Austen Reveries, the category “Gothic.”