19th Century Horror: Demons, Doppelgangers, and the Living Dead
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students
Course Number: NLIT 3859
Course Format: Lecture
Permission Required: No
The 19th century was a period when all things supernatural and sensational flourished. What were the political,societal, and cultural contexts behind the fiction of ghosts, monsters,vampires, and doppelgangers? Is it entirely coincidental that Frankenstein was written at a time that witnessed the rise of workers’ rights--or that the first full-fledged vampire predated Karl Marx’s Das Kapital, with its apt comparison between vampirism and capitalism, by less than a year? To what extent can the Irish and Scottish preoccupation with dangerous doubles and bloodsucking aristocrats be attributed to contemporary concerns with imperialism, national identity, and independence (e.g., Home Rule)? This course studies Ann Radcliffe’s Gaston de Blondeville, Mary Shelley’s ,Frankenstein, John Polidori’s short story, "Vampyre," selections from the penny-dreadful, Varney the Vampire, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, Richard Marsh’s Beetle, and finally, Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Course Open to: Degree Students