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8. The American Supernatural
About this Lecture
In this module, we trace the development of the supernatural in American literature, focusing in particular on Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat (1843) and Toni Morrison's Beloved (1987).
– Edgar Allan Poe, The Black Cat (1843)
– Frederick Douglas, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845)
– Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)
In this course, Professor Nick Groom (University of Exeter) explores the history of the supernatural in English and American literature. The course begins by thinking about two of the key sources of supernatural literature, looking in the first module at the popular ballad tradition in Renaissance England, and in the second at the genre of Revenge Tragedy that flourished on the English stage in the late 16th and early 17th century. In the third and fourth modules, we turn to the figure of the vampire, looking first at the earliest vampires in Classical and Judaeo-Christian mythology, before turning in the fourth module to the vampire in Victorian England – culminating with Bram Stoker's Dracula at the end of the 19th century. After that, in the fifth and sixth modules, we think about the experience of the uncanny, first in general terms and then in relation to Oscar Wilde's 1890 novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. In the seventh module, we think about the presentation of ghosts in English literature, before moving on in the eighth and final module to think about how supernatural literature developed in America – and looking in particular at Toni Morrison's 1987 novel, Beloved.
Nick Groom is Professor of English Literature at the University of Exeter, a critically acclaimed author on subjects ranging from the history of the Union Jack to Thomas Chatterton, has edited several books and regularly appears on television, radio and at literary festivals as an authority on English Literature, the ‘Gothic’ and ‘British’ identity.
Cite this Lecture
Groom, N. (2018, August 15). The Supernatural: A Complete History - The American Supernatural [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-supernatural-a-complete-history/the-american-supernatural
Groom, Nick. "The Supernatural: A Complete History – The American Supernatural." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018, https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-supernatural-a-complete-history/the-american-supernatural