ENG3407 Gothic Literature and Culture, Fall 2020

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Quiz 2 and Homework for Monday, Nov 9

Hi Class,

Great job with the Weekly Goth! And thanks for working hard to wrestle with Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher.” I think that Quiz 2 (on the right sidebar) will be fairly easy after today’s class, that is…if you took notes. Be sure to proofread your work before submitting.


Here are three terms that are relevant:


  1. Experiencing sensationthought, or feeling.
  2. Able to consciously perceive through the use of sense
  3. Possessing human-like awareness and intelligence.


  1. (pathology) severe bodily condition, described in psychiatric pathology, marked by sudden rigidity, fixation of posture, and loss of contact with environmental conditions

**I have long detested the word CREEPY! Why is that? Because it is overused to fill in for anything and everything related to the gothic. Please use this word with specificity, not as a general term.

creepy (use this term only if something is crawling/creeping, or crawling over one’s skin, or repulsive in a strange way!! I Don’t like #3, but I guess I can’t wish it away.

  1. Moving by creeping along.
  2. (informal)Producing an uneasy fearful sensation, as of things crawling over one’s skin.
  3. (informal)Feeling an uneasy fearful sensation; creeped out.
  4. (informal)Strangely repulsive.



Read Blade #1 and #2 (in Readings) and select your favorite panel/frame/page. Come prepared to explain to the class why it is your favorite. Make sure to establish context so that we understand its importance/relevance.



Prof. Scanlan

Homework for Wednesday, Nov 4

Hi Class,

I was quite impressed by the first two Weekly Goth posts! Good job Kwame and Yarlin! Let’s keep that sort of quality and insight going.

For Wednesday:

1–Please review both versions of “House of Usher.” Then, in your notes, list ten plots points in chronological order. What are the key differences between the versions? What is your favorite scene in the text version? In the graphic version?

2–in your notes, write down the definition of Sentience. Then closely read the long paragraph after the ballad “The Haunted Palace” where this concept is mentioned three times. What does sentience have to do with Roderick’s illness, the house itself, and, perhaps, with the death of Madeline?

****I’m going to hold off on the Blade graphic novel until after Wednesday.


Prof. Scanlan

Homework for Monday, Nov 2

Hi Class,

Great job talking about Gorey!

For homework:

1–Review the Gothic Homesickness handout and review Wilson’s “How to Read …” website

2–Homework: Read Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher,” then read the graphic novel version by Manning and Jimenz. In your notes, explore how gothic homesickness works.

3–Weekly Goth: Short in-class presentation. (video and voice recommended) The presentation should explain to the class what the example is and why it is gothic. It may help to use the example to explain one of our technical gothic terms. Students should post a brief explanation(100-150 words) of the object under review. Check out a good example:  Katsuyo Aoki’s skull sculpture on the Weekly Goth tab. This assignment will be part of the participation grade. Here is the schedule:

Nov 2: Kwame and Yarlin

Nov 4: Jamela and Joel

Nov 9: Manuel and Rachel

Nov 11: Isaac and Shemar

Nov 16: Fatma and Salim

Nov 18: Jessica and Victoria


On the horizon: we will have quiz 2 next Wednesday.


Prof. Scanlan

Hi Class,


**I’ve only received 7 Final Drafts of the Midterm Essay. If you have not already done so, please post your final draft today!


For Wednesday:


1–Read “The Iron Tonic” graphic story and answer these two questions: What examples of the sublime are noticeable in this story? Second, how many gothic elements (there are 4) can you find in this story?


2–Review ideas for The Sublime:

The Sublime:

The sublime is the feeling that arises from something awe-inspiring, breath-taking, unique, incomparable, beyond words. The sublime can also be the object, concept, quality, or experience that launches such feelings. As several seventeenth- and eighteenth-century travelers noted, the Alps are sublime in this sense because nothing at ground level prepares one for the view from their austere peaks, where earth and sky seem to meet (e.g., Caspar David Friedrich’s famous painting, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog—SEE BELOW (1817). Western aesthetics has been interested in the concept of the sublime since at least the first century, when the Greek scholar Longinus wrote his treatise On the Sublime. But it was not until the publication of Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1756) that it became a topic of philosophical interest. Burke’s opposition between beauty as that which is well-formed and pleasing and sublime as that which is ugly, fearful and desirable all at once continues to inform thinking on this subject still. A particularly useful quote from Burke is: Sublimity may evoke horror, but knowledge that the perception is a fiction is pleasureful.” In effect, Burke’s distinction is between that which we perceive with simple pleasure (the beautiful) and that which truly moves us (sublime). German philosopher, Immanuel Kant adopts Burke’s opposition and uses it to discuss the limits of the imagination and the senses in contrast to the power of reason—for him, sublime is exalted and great.

Below: The Hahnen is a mountain of the Urner Alps, overlooking Engelberg in the Swiss canton of Obwalden. It has an elevation of 2,606 metres above sea level. (from Wikipedia article on The Sublime)

Hahnen, Swiss mountain

Homework for Monday, October 26

Hi Class,

Great questions today. I hope that each of you was able to benefit from all the questions/answers

Homework for Monday:

1–Finish revising, editing, and proofreading the Midterm Essay. Post your essay (full name and course number) to the new menu category titled “Midterm Essay” by class time on Monday.

2–I’ve posted the Terror/Horror handout and the Paragraphs/Sentences handout on the Readings menu tab.

3–We will discuss “The Enormous Radio” and “The Veldt” on Monday (I promise!).


Email any questions.


Prof. Scanlan

Homework for Wednesday, Oct 21

Hi Class,


For Wednesday, please prepare to speak a bit more than on Monday.


1–Reread “The Enormous Radio” and prepare something to say on liminality, CGI,  and SOP.

2–Reread “The Veldt” and be ready to speak about the plot, technology, and control/power.

3–Bring in a Question pertaining to your essay.


*I’ve posted an additional free grammar checker on the right sidebar



Prof. Scanlan

Homework for Monday, October 19

Hi Class,

For Monday,


1–Please study this student example of a first draft before you write the essay–it contains my margin notes on the intro, thesis, and methodology. Please be aware that you can organize your first page in a different way. For example, you can begin with the story summaries and then present your gothic concepts right before you reveal your thesis. This example was for a similar assignment–not exactly the same.


2–Reread your selected stories carefully and take good notes! As you write up the first draft of the Midterm Essay, make sure to think about how your characters are similar and different. Make sure to explore them by using some of our gothic terms.

3–Your draft (which I’ve called “the first page”) should be as long as you can make it, but at least 250 words. Make sure to include a strong thesis in the form of a question. Also include a methodology which is a chronological plan for how to aim to prove your thesis.

4–Post your draft to the Coffeehouse 4 category.


Email and questions,


Prof.  Scanlan



Homework and Info for Wednesday, Oct 14

Hi Class,

Sorry about the link to Young Goodman Brown. I’ve replaced it with a local PDF.



For Wednesday:

1—review “Prologue to Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison

2—Read “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne

3—Read “The Enormous Radio” by John Cheever (link fixed)

4—Read “The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury

5—take notes on the characters that you want to write about in Midterm Essay. It will help to take a few minutes and sketch out why you think a certain pair will make a good comparison. Then, it will help to identify those scenes in which the characters do something to draw attention to their similarities and differences. Next, it will help to identify those gothic terms that are easily applied to your characters, such as: liminality, Spirit of Perverseness, the Central Gothic Irony, redemption, allegory, gothic elements, fantastic uncanny (there are other terms).

See everybody on Wednesday.


Prof. Scanlan


Homework for Wednesday, Oct 7

Hi Class,

*Sorry about the missing Ellison story and Formatting Handout. Both are now posted to the Readings menu tab.

**The essay details handout is posted to the Assignments menu tab.

** I updated the due dates of the Midterm Essay to reflect the fact that there is no class on Monday, Oct 12. So, the dates are shifted to:

Draft Due: Monday, Oct 19

Final Draft Due: Monday, Oct 26


For Wednesday:

1–Read Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown,” then, in your notes, reflect on how Todorov’s terms work in the story.

2–Review Lloyd-Smith. In your notes consider why “Young Goodman Brown” is a quintessential American gothic story.

Email any questions,


Prof. Scanlan

Homework for Monday, Oct 5

Hi Class,

Great discussion! My goal is to give each student time to speak on the topic under discussion in each class.


For Monday:

1–Review Freud’s “The Uncanny”

2–Read Alan Lloyd-Smith’s chapter on American Gothic

*****3–Read Ralph Ellison’s “Prologue to Invisible Man” (Sorry about that! It is now posted to Readings menu tab)

4–Read Ambrose Bierce’s “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”


Please prepare some notes or talking points related to these questions:

–How does redemption work in the story?

–What IS EVIL. And is it present in the story?

–Is the Spirit of Perversity at work in the story?

–What lessons can draw from this story and apply to our own world/life?

–Who else would you like to hear from? Who does not have a voice?

–who carries the most guilt?

–What is a parasite? Who acts like a parasite and who acts like a host in the story?


Have a good weekend,

Prof. Scanlan


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