Englisch | Gothic Literature – from Edgar Allan Poe to Stephen King
This seminar is designed to analyse and unravel the manifold elements this literary genre, which has undergone a series of revivals since its inception in the 1700s, encompasses. There are many aspects of Gothic literature – also known as Dark Romanticism - that make it compelling to audiences both then and now: mystery and suspense, gloomy atmosphere and setting, picturesque scenery, supernatural elements, ill omens and curses. In this seminar, we shall focus on classic as well as modern American and English works of fiction, analysing the development of this genre throughout the centuries and learning how to interpret literature in general. We shall begin with Hugh Walpole`s short novel “The Castle of Otranto” (1764) and compare it to Edgar Allan Poe`s story “The Fall of the House of Usher” (1839). In order to exemplify that elements of Gothic literature are still widely employed in today`s fiction, we shall analyse Stephen King`s novella “The Body” from 1982, a story of initiation whose very successful film adaption was released by the title “Stand by Me” only four years later.
- Jane Austen`s novel “Northanger Abbey“ (1817) as a parody of the Gothic genre
- A critical evaluation of Mary Shelley`s novel “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus” (1818) in the light of contemporary science
- The depiction of the “Doppelgänger”-motif in Robert Louis Stevenson`s short novel “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (1886).
- A psychological approach to Henry James` ghost story “The Turn of the Screw” (1898) and Charlotte Gilman Perkins` story “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892)
- Shirley Jackson`s novel “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” (1962) as an example for modern Southern Gothic.
- Gothic elements in contemporary children`s fiction: Lemony Snicket`s “A Series of Unfortunate Events No. 1: The Bad Beginning” (1999)
- “Northanger Abbey” reloaded: Val McDermid`s modern adaptation of Jane Austen`s novel in 2014.
- Gothic elements and their function in Melissa Albert`s fantasy novel “The Hazel Wood” (2018)