Course Detail

195:137: The Haunted

  • SAS Core Requirement: AHp

Fulfills SAS Core Code: Arts and Literatures – AHp

This introductory comparative literature course examines what haunts us, from within and from without. We’ll study the uncanny, doppelgängers, apparitions, ghostly occupations and other unexplained phenomena. But we’ll also take a close look at what haunts us from the inside out, at what consumes and compels us, keeps us up at night and drives us mad. And we’ll see if we can’t figure out some ways to deal with our own ghosts – as individuals and as a society – by turning to what haunts some of the key works of modern Western literature. Students will leave the class adept in close textual analysis, well versed in the literary techniques used to stage a haunting, and able to comment on the larger aesthetic, social and historical importance of coming to terms with what terrifies us and the potentially devastating consequences if we don’t.

Required Texts:

E.T.A. Hoffmann, “The Sandman” (Germany, 1816) and Sigmund Freud, “The Uncanny” (Germany, 1919)

Honoré de Balzac, The Wild Ass’s Skin (France, 1831)

Edgar Allan Poe, “The Fall of the House of Usher” (1839) and “William Wilson” (U.S., 1842)

Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Scotland, 1886)

Guy de Maupassant, “Le Horla” (France, 1887)

Henry James, The Turn of the Screw (U.S./U.K.,1898)

Edith Wharton, “Afterward” (U.S., 1910)

Virginia Woolf, “A Haunted House” (England, 1921)

Adolfo Bioy Casares, The Invention of Morel (Argentina, 1940)

Julio Cortázar, “House Taken Over” (Argentina, 1946) and “Axolotl” (Argentina, 1952)

Georges Perec, W, or The Memory of Childhood (France, 1975)

Kazuo Ishiguro, A Pale View of Hills (Japan/England,1982)

Toni Morrison, Beloved (U.S., 1987)

Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones (U.S., 2002)

*All books are available for purchase at the Rutgers University Bookstore; short stories and supplementary readings will be posted on Sakai