Twentieth-Century Literature: Twenty-First Century Gothic - Diversity Intensive (online)

ENGL 2140
Section 01
Maureen Konkle
Asynchronous Online
Course Description

Today the Gothic is more than a type of writing featuring Poe's decrepit mansions and medieval dances of the dead; over the twentieth century and especially today the Gothic has become an artistic mode that addresses itself to what one scholar calls "the dark side of culture." The characteristic decrepitude remains but the Gothic has expanded to incorporate non-realistic modes of writing generally, including horror, magical realism, and even fairy tales, most of it  addressing the threat of an archaic or barbarous past to the present. It has always been a mode through which Western writers examined a host of political and cultural anxieties--about race, technological progress, or gender relations for example.

This course examines the ways in which four contemporary novels by non-Western and minority writers--British, Iraqi and Indigenous--employ, disrupt, and subvert the traditional uses of the Gothic. They include Tokyo Cancelled (2005) by Rana Dasgupta; Mapping the Interior (2017) by Stephen Graham Jones; White is for Witching (2009) by Helen Oyeyemi; and Frankenstein in Baghdad (2018) by Ahmed Saadawi. These novels feature haunted houses, vampires, ghosts, and monsters. They also show how non-Western and minority writers have used the Gothic to think about a range of issues including the effects of globalization and empire. Assignments in this course will be focused on analyzing how these writers reimagine the Gothic as a means of examining both the present and the past. This is an online, asynchronous course; assignments include quizzes, discussion boards, short papers, and one reflection paper.