Although originating in Britain, the gothic has taken root in American literature with fiction that exposes the underbelly of culture by presenting worlds teeming with the (un)buried and the unmentionable. In this seminar, we will consider the usefulness and limitations of reading Toni Morrison’s novel “Beloved” in relation to the genre of the American gothic. In order to analyze the ways the novel represents and revises the gothic genre to “re-member” history, we will examine gothic themes such as the return of the repressed, anxiety over bodily and cultural boundaries, the monstrous other/self, and the dark side of progress. We will also look at critical work as well as examples from the Newberry collection, in order to think about the gothic in relation to race and American (literary) history.
Seminar led by Ann Brigham, Roosevelt University