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1. A Haunted House
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about The Little Stranger as a haunted house narrative, focusing in particular on: (i) what Hundreds Hall is actually haunted by – if anything; (ii) the gothic genre and the idea of the decoy narrative, i.e. telling one story as a way of avoiding another; (iii) the conventions of the ghost story, especially the figure of the narrator, and the ways in which Dr Faraday conforms to and subverts these conventions; and (iv) the concept of the uncanny – popularised by Freud in his 1919 essay, ‘Das Unheimliche’ – and the importance of the home in the novel.
In this course, Professor Lucie Armitt (University of Lincoln) explores Sarah Waters’ 2009 novel, the Little Stranger. We begin by thinking about the novel as a haunted house narrative, focusing in particular on what, if anything, the house is actually haunted by. After that, we think about the social and political reforms that were at work in the mid- to late 1940s, the period in which the novel is set, and the ways in which the reflects on these changes, before turning in the third module to the representation of children in the novel. In the fourth module, we provide a close reading of the scene in chapter five in which Roderick encounters the ghost, before moving on in the fifth module to think about the representation of communications technology in the novel – particularly the telephone and the speaking tube. Finally, in the sixth module, we focus on the narrator of the novel, Dr Faraday: is he as trustworthy and impartial as he would like us to believe?
Lucie Armitt is a Professor in Contemporary English Literature at the University of Lincoln. She is a specialist in the fields of contemporary women’s writing, the literary fantastic and the Gothic. She is an Associate Editor of the award-winning OUP journal Contemporary Women’s Writing and founding Treasurer of the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association.
Cite this Lecture
Armitt, L. (2019, October 07). Waters: The Little Stranger - A Haunted House [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/waters-the-little-stranger/a-haunted-house
Armitt, L. "Waters: The Little Stranger – A Haunted House." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 07 Oct 2019, https://www.massolit.io/courses/waters-the-little-stranger/a-haunted-house