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5. Anti-Blackness in the Great Gatsby
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about anti-blackness in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (1925), focusing in particular on: (i) the extent to which chaos and degeneracy is associated with the 'darker' settings in the novel, especially the Valley of Ashes; (ii) the significance of the fact that the only black character to speak in the novel is a witness to Myrtle's death; and (iii) the extent to which Baz Luhrmann's 2013 film 'The Great Gatsby' re-enacts the racial tensions in the novel in new ways, e.g. with the use of hip hop to signify chaos and degeneracy.
In this course Dr Maisha Wester (University of Sheffield) explores Gothic literature through the lens of race. In the first module, we provide an introduction to the concepts of the gothic and the grotesque in literature and the arts, before turning in the second module to the influence of the American (1775-83), French (1789-99) and (especially) Haitian Revolutions (1791-1804) on Gothic literature. In the third module, we think about the racial politics in British Gothic literature, especially Charlotte Dacre's Zofloya (1806) and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818), before turning in the fourth module to think about the same issues in American Gothic literature. In the fifth module, we think about anti-blackness in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (1925), before turning in the sixth module to consider black diasporic Gothic literature, including Richard Wright's Native Son (1940), Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man (1952) and Toni Morrison's Beloved (1987). Finally, in the seven module, we think about anti-blackness in horror film, and the importance of black film directors including Oscar Michaux (1884-1951), Bill Gunn (1934-89) and Jordan Peele (1979-).
Dr Maisha Wester is visiting lecturer at the University of Sheffield. Her research and teaching focuses on Gothic literature and Horror Film, although she also teaches American literature and African American Cultural Studies. Some of her recent publications include African American Gothic: Screams from Shadowed Places (2012) and (as co-editor) Twenty-First-Century Gothic: An Edinburgh Companion (2019).
Cite this Lecture
Wester, M. (2022, February 14). Gothic Literature and Race - Anti-Blackness in the Great Gatsby [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/gothic-literature-and-race/anti-blackness-in-the-great-gatsby
Wester, M. "Gothic Literature and Race – Anti-Blackness in the Great Gatsby." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 14 Feb 2022, https://www.massolit.io/courses/gothic-literature-and-race/anti-blackness-in-the-great-gatsby