Masters of Suspicion III: American Gothic

This course develops the fictional examination of power structures through an examination of classic Gothic works of American literature. Disclosing ways that these stories push readers away from normalized assumptions about power, structure, and order, these classes show ways that language, space, and time structure our experiences of the world in unexpected ways.


Week I: Intro to Gothic Logic (Emily Dickinson, “One need not be a Chamber”)


Week II: The Gothic’s Rambling Logic (Washington Irving, “Rip Van Winkle”)


Week III: Literary Transformations of the World (Washington Irving, The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon)


Week IV: The Clash of Imaginary Worlds (Washington Irving, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”)


Week V: The Crises of Certainty and Control (Edgar Allan Poe, “The Black Cat”)


Week VI: The Horrors of Being at Home at Work (Herman Melville, “Bartleby the Scrivener”)


Week VII: The Perils of Permissiveness (Charlotte Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper”)


Week VIII: Buried Evidence (Ambrose Bierce, “A Vine on a House”)