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Title: ENGL 151-07, Darkness in the Land of Light, Fall 2009
Authors: Richards, Jason
Keywords: English, Department of;Syllabus;Curriculum;Academic departments;Text;2009 Fall
Issue Date: 26-Aug-2009
Publisher: Memphis, Tenn. : Rhodes College
Series/Report no.: Syllabi CRN;10193
Abstract: Seen from the perspective of Puritan settlers, early America was an unsettling contradiction. It was a land of freedom, promise, and renewal but also a vast and terrifying landscape, a "howling wilderness" they perceived as the devil's domain. From the start a dark shadow has haunted this land of optimism and light as Gothic and transcendental forces have together shaped the American experience. Gothic is obsessed with how the past haunts the present, but it is also filled with a sense of impending doom. Transcendental thought seeks to free us from our bondage to the past while offering a hopeful vision of the future. In this writing-intensive seminar, we'll study the competing energies of the Gothic and transcendental in American cultural life. We'll first identify these forces in the fatalism of Puritan ideology versus the more liberatory thinking of Unitarianism. Then we'll examine how American authors have absorbed and worked against these rival energies. While we'll analyze the Gothic and transcendental in literature and film, we'll also notice how Gothic conventions have crept into non-fictional realms and how real-life people have transcended antagonistic forces. Prompts for critical thinking and writing will include works by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edgar Allan Poe, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman as well as films such as Psycho, Nightmare on Elm Street, Seabiscuit, among others.
Description: This syllabus was submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs by the course instructor.
Appears in Collections:Course Syllabi

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