PHILOSOPHY OF THE GOTHIC IMAGINATION
(AKA: SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR)
SYLLABUS SCHEDULE OF TOPICS
FILMS ASSIGNED FOR COURSE (in order of discussion in class):
-- How does the first half of the movie critique the shallowness of modern life? What specific criticisms does it make?
-- In the second half of the movie, how does Tyler Durden go to the opposite extreme?
2001: A Space Odyssey
-- How does the movie portray technology, from the bone club to the space station to HAL? Is technology seen as wholly beneficial, or also menacing?
-- How is the modern world portrayed: as a utopia, or as something less ideal?
-- What is the relation between the 3 parts of the movie: the ape-men, the modern world, and the future world/Star Child?
Think about the contrast between 2001 and Alien in terms of the look & design of the spaceship, and the nature of the villain (HAL versus the alien life form).
How does the Terminator compare with HAL? How does it differ from human beings? Is emotion a strength or a weakness of humans?
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Isaac Asimov, Foundation
Online texts: 3 classic Greek tragedies, Prometheus, Bacchae, Oedipus The King
ARTICLES AND SHORT STORIES:
Clarke's interpretation of Hal's breakdown: Link to excerpt from Clarke's 2001
Shirley Jackson, "The Lottery"
Edgar Allen Poe: available at http://poestories.com/stories.php
Detective stories: "Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Purloined Letter" (See Notes on The Purloined Letter);
Horror stories: "The Cask of Amontillado", "The Masque of the Red Death"
Bakhtin, "Rabelais and His World," excerpts: http://artemis.austincollege.edu/acad/english/bbarrie/shakespeare/bakhtin_rab.html
Carol Clover, "Her Body, Himself: Gender in the Slasher Film," Representations 1987 (available on JSTOR*)
Noel Carroll, "The Nature of Horror" (1987) (available on JSTOR*)
* JSTOR instructions: go to UML homepage, then to Libraries, then under site index click on 'J', then select JSTOR. Click on "Search", then enter search terms (e.g., Carol Clover Her Body).
FURTHER READING/current issues
New York Times article on Fight Club:
New York Times article on Deliverance:
Boston Globe article on the neuroscience of horror films: