DePauw University, English 264: "The Female Gothic" (Spring 2017)
This course will be listed in the English department but will also count towards the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program.
In 1976, Ellen Moers used the phrase “Female Gothic” to describe “the work that women writers have done in the literary mode that, since the eighteenth century, we have called the Gothic. But what I mean – or anyone else means – by ‘the Gothic’ is not so easily stated except that it has to do with fear.” In this course, we will trace that fear from the 18th century to the present, examining its manifestations in the settings (from the haunted castle to the suffocating domestic), characters, and narratives. This course will have several goals: to read closely and widely works of the Female Gothic tradition, to analyze the tropes and motifs of that tradition, and to define for today the term “Female Gothic,” which has been challenged recently by more contemporary ones such as “women’s Gothic” and “Gothic feminism.” Writers include Ann Radcliffe, Eliza Parsons, Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charlotte Brontë, Jean Rhys, Edith Wharton, Shirley Jackson, Angela Carter, Joyce Carol Oates, and Helen Oyeyemi among others.