Will Count towards the SAS - English Major and Minor
Our focus in this SAS Honors seminar will be on vampires, parasites, and other modern vermin. I have called the course "Our Vampires, Ourselves" because I believe that the horror genre does remarkable cultural work for the modern cultural consumer and for the nation at large. Questions we will ask include: how are nineteenth-century vampires "modern"? Why have their tales lived on to "haunt" us? What kinds of social problems do they address for twentieth- and twenty-first-century readers and film-goers? How does the vampire morph into an identity thief? Into a cosmetic surgeon? Into a self-representing artist? Into the medical-industrial complex? How, then, are vampires "ourselves"? And finally, why is movie-generated fear so much fun?
I also hope to expose you to a wide range of films, some of which you may have seen, many not. We will view films from a variety of film genres: silent movies, mainstream Hollywood cinema, and foreign art film. We will read the nineteenth- and twentieth-century novels from which these films were adapted or on which they're based to discover how the films appropriate and remediate the narratives (that is, rewrite them in a new medium).
We will read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Patricia Highsmith's Talented Mr. Ripley and other modern vampire tales. We'll read selections from Sander Gilman's Making the Body Beautiful, newspaper pieces and research essays about anxieties that surround New Reproductive Technologies, essays and portraits by Cindy Sherman that unsettle our notions of modern identity. We'll watch movies by some of the following filmmakers: F. W. Murnau, James Whale, Kenneth Branagh, Francis Ford Coppola, Werner Herzog, and Pedro Alomdóvar.
DIANNE F. SADOFF studies nineteenth-century British literature and culture, psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic theory, and film adaptation. Her books include Monsters of Affection: Dickens, Bronte and Eliot on Fatherhood; Sciences of the Flesh: Representing Body and Subject in Psychoanalysis; and the co-edited books, Teaching Theory to Undergraduates, and Victorian Afterlife: Postmodern Culture Rewrites the Nineteenth Century. She has completed a new book, Victorian Vogue: The Nineteenth-Century British Novel On Screen. She attended Oberlin College, the University of Oregon, and the University of Rochester. She has always been interested in interdisciplinary teaching and research.