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seminars > fall 2013 schedule > seminar: Inquiry, Discovery, and Literature: The Powers of Horror: Horror Fiction and Film


Honors Seminars Fall 2013

Inquiry, Discovery, and Literature: The Powers of Horror: Horror Fiction and Film

HON 202 Sec:008  
3 hours  
GER Cat:
15:00 - 16:15  
Caldwell Hall 0G106  
Dr. Thomas P. Phillips
Restrictions: Restricted to first semester UHP freshmen  

Restricted to first semester UHP freshmen.

As applied to creative disciplines, the term horror has many connotations that reflect diverse aesthetic styles and ideologies over what is arguably a long span of time. Like other genres, horror is also deeply imprinted by the entertainment industry, particularly in the 20th and 21st centuries. This section of HON 202 will examine the genre through a variety of literary and cinematic texts (among others, including music and painting) with the aim of gaining insight into the central question of why we are drawn to horror as entertainment and cultural practice. Additionally, the course will explore five commonly overlapping aspects of the genre: the psychology of spectatorship, horror as cultural commentary, gender, religion, and the democratization of discursive and visual art forms. At the very minimum, then, students will be encouraged to consider the degree to which even a popular genre such as horror rewards, and is itself illuminated, by critical inquiry.

We will engage with readings ranging from literary to theoretical texts on the aesthetics and psychology of horror as it relates to each medium. Most films will be viewed outside of class at a designated time and place or at the student's convenience, though we will watch clips in class. Evaluation will be based on class participation, one response essay, a longer research-based essay, a midterm, and a final exam.

Fiction Don DeLillo, Point Omega Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Young Goodman Brown" Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House M. R. James, "The Ash-Tree" H.P. Lovecraft, "Dreams in the Witch House" Edgar Allan Poe, "The Fall of the House of Usher"

Film John Carpenter, Halloween William Friedkin, The Exorcist Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho Stanley Kubrick, The Shining Neil Marshall, The Descent

Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, The Blair Witch Project