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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2023-24

ENGL 53.08 Weird Fiction and the Limits of the Human

What makes the dark so terrifying? Why do humans use fiction to invent strange creatures and supernatural threats? How does horror contribute to what it means to be human? What does the weird or the strange tell us about society? This course examines the literary, philosophical, and social aspects of weird fiction, a tradition of literature and genre fiction running from the early nineteenth century up to the present. It examines the most well-known writer of the weird, H.P. Lovecraft, but it also looks at work by Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Octavia Butler, Victor LaValle, Kelly Link, Jeff VanderMeer, and others. The course introduces students to the study of genre fiction, theoretical approaches to literature (including posthumanism, psychoanalysis, and ecotheory), and cultural studies (including critical race theory and feminism). It asks students to consider how weird fiction challenges racism, misogyny, homophobia, and colonialism. While no prior training in critical theory is necessary, students are encouraged to have some familiarity in analyzing and writing on literature. The class will also offer opportunities for creative efforts and experimental writing.

Degree Requirement Attributes

Dist:LIT; WCult:W

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.

Department-Specific Course Categories

Course Group III