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ENGL200M - Topics in Literature: American Horror (3-0-3)

Covers selected literary themes, such as gothic, science fiction, or women’s literature. Students apply critical contexts and practice various theoretical approaches to the readings. Prerequisites: ENGL110XM or ENGL110M. Please note that students can take only ONE Special Topics literature courses for credit. (Fulfills English or Humanities requirement)

Horror is one of America’s oldest and most popular genres in literature, cinema, visual arts, and even music (think of Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, and many others). Part of the appeal is escapism: It’s safer to scare oneself over things that go bump in the night than to ponder often terrifying real-life problems. Horror also provides a lens through which to view essential life themes, such as man’s role in the world, an individual’s struggle to assert themselves in a hostile society, and the inner conflicts of the mind and soul. In this course, the student will address such themes through short stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Flannery O’Connor, Shirley Jackson, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and yes, Stephen King. Rather than horror for the sake of horror, the themes presented in the readings will provide the basis for class discussions and short, critical essays.