3.02.140 S Weird Ecologies and Fantastic Geographies in American Fiction and Film


  • Mittwoch: 14:00 - 16:00, wöchentlich


Based on the assumption of a generically linked interrelation between weird and fantastic fiction and film, this course will scrutinize their respective poetics and aesthetics, and especially their spatial imaginations, from a distinctly American perspective. Surveying the seminal works of American Gothic fiction that have been associated with notions of the supernatural, the marvelous, the uncanny, the grotesque, the spectral, and, above all, the weird and the fantastic, the participants of the seminar will make themselves familiar with these concepts and the aesthetic theories and traditions in which they are embedded. The guiding question will be concerned with the unique position of the weird and the fantastic as notions that seem to be encompassed by the generic label of the American Gothic, while having spawned equally persistent and perfidious forms of American literary, visual, and auditory culture that are very much their own—in other words, ecologies and geographies of the weird and the fantastic. The participants will test provisional definitions of weird and fantastic fiction and film by locating and questioning their specific traits in novellas by Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft; in short stories by Herman Melville, Jamaica Kincaid, Joyce Carol Oates, Thomas Ligotti, and Jeff VanderMeer; as well as in John Carpenter’s The Thing and David Lynch’s Lost Highway. Theoretical texts as diverse as Sigmund Freud’s “The Uncanny,” Tzvetan Todorov’s The Fantastic, and Julia Kristeva’s Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection will provide the conceptual background for the analyses of these fictions and films.
Aside from the short stories and the theoretical texts, which will be made available at the start of the semester, the following novellas need to be purchased by the participants:

- Edgar Allan Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
- H.P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness



  • ang614 Genres: Cultural, Historical and Theoretical Perspectives


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