Not unlike the medium who holds séances to thrill those at her table, novelists using gothic “machinery” brought thrills and chills to nineteenth-century readers. Realizing that the gothic tradition taps into our deepest fears, novelists used the form to comment on and expose social, political, and ecological issues carefully cloaked in the supernatural. Join me as we pull back the black curtain and reveal what the Brontë sisters were really talking about: why Jane Eyre (Ire) was so angry and why you really shouldn’t build a house on the moors. Readings: Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre and Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights. Please read the first 10 chapters of Jane Eyre for the first class.
Instructor Maryanne Ward is retired after a 40-year career in small college education. She chaired Kenyon College (Gambier, Ohio) Humanities program and served as academic dean until moving to Centre College (Danville, Kentucky) as professor of English and chair of the Humanities program. Her area of special interest and scholarship is 19th-century British literature. Among other topics, her publications have examined the relationship between literature, landscape, and painting.
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