Gothic Fiction and the Divided Self

In this seminar we will discuss two classic works of gothic fiction, both of which explore the problem of the divided self: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Or, the Myth of the Modern Prometheus and Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Whether in the guise of monster, rival, uncanny double, or repressed desire, the fantasy of an "other" self lies at the heart of some of our most archetypal narratives, and some of our deepest ethical, psychological and political dilemmas. These two texts notoriously-and schematically-represent "aspects" of the self that seem diametrically opposed to each other. But by that very fact they also present opportunities for us to consider the ways in which antagonistic binaries are complicated by intermediate characters and by criss-crossing plots. We will use these texts to "deconstruct" the comfortable binaries of nature/nurture, normal/monstrous, inside/outside, and self/other.