Gothic Vision: Specters of Subversion, 1300 to Now (AH4108.01)

J. Vanessa Lyon

The Gothic is a worldview equally at home in nostalgia and strangeness. It thirsts for arcane, even craven, knowledge and is frequently motivated by a fearful fascination with the foreign. In Gothic novels (the first of which appeared in 1764) psychic ‘interiority’ is revealed in dark spaces tainted by unthinkable crimes or haunted by spirits–and/or The Church. But if seeing is believing in Gothic literature, how 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.


Learning Outcomes:
close-looking; critical analysis; historical knowledge; upper-level research and writing skills; critical race theory


Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: By permission of instructor vis-a-vis, prior art history coursework; prior work in Literature in 18th/19th C; writing and research experience and aptiitude
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
W 2:10PM - 5:50PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 12
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: All courses , Art History , Fully In-Person
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