Gothic Vision: Specters of Subversion, Medieval to Tomorrow (AH4108.01)

J Vanessa Lyon

The Gothic is a worldview equally at home in nostalgia and strangeness. It thirsts for arcane, even perverse, knowledge and is frequently motivated by a fearful fascination with the foreign. In Gothic novels (the first of which appeared in London in 1764) psychic ‘interiority’ is revealed in dark spaces tainted by unthinkable crimes or haunted by spirits. But if seeing is believing in Gothic literature, how can art history begin to reclaim the Gothic image on its own terms? How, for example, do Gothic fiction’s ‘special effects’ rely on paintings and prints to evoke the exotic and unimaginable? To answer these questions, this visual culture course will range widely from the original Gothic style in medieval Christian art and architecture to proto-Romantic and modern revivals of the Neo/Gothic in text, film, television, and music video. (NB: this is not Vampires 101, but there will be blood.) We will draw on traditional art history and cultural theory, as well as feminist, gender, critical race, and queer studies. Working collaboratively, our transdisciplinary approach will produce a useful chronology of Gothic visual culture in all its—at times, ridiculous—sublimity.

Prerequisites: Art History coursework or 18th/19th C. literary studies; permission of instructor
Credits: 4
W 2:10-5:50
Maximum Enrollment: 14
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years
This course is categorized as All courses, Art History.