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LIT 64 — 19th-Century Gothic Novels: Frankenstein and Dracula

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Sep 27—Nov 1
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Sep 29
Unit: 1
Tuition: $385
Instructor(s): Rebecca Richardson
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Registration opens Aug 22, 8:30 am (PT)
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Sep 27—Nov 1
6 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 29
1 Unit
Rebecca Richardson
Registration opens Aug 22, 8:30 am (PT)
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus (1818) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) are among the most widely known and adapted novels, spurring countless theatrical productions, films, television shows, and even ballets. Both Shelley and Stoker unleashed monsters that have resonated across times and cultures. The name Frankenstein is synonymous with the dangerous consequences of scientific discovery and is regularly invoked in discussions about biomedical ethics. And Dracula has inspired a lasting obsession with vampires—thematizing fears about disease and contamination, as well as threats to individuality and agency.

In this course, we will read these classics of English literature and the horror genre with attention to their historical context and their many afterlives. We will pay particular attention to how these novels sprang from the popular genre of the Gothic—which thrilled 18th- and 19th-century audiences. We will also consider how these novels drew on early ideas and fears about science, race, and disease. Most importantly, we will read these novels as pieces of literature: while these plots and characters have been adapted and popularized, the texts themselves have often fallen to the wayside. But both Shelley and Stoker were careful of their craft, building in layers of meaning via the forms their novels take while speaking to fears that have haunted audiences then and now.

Advanced Lecturer, Program in Writing and Rhetoric, Stanford

Rebecca Richardson received a PhD in Victorian literature from Stanford. She has published articles on a range of 19th-century authors—from Jane Austen to Charles Dickens—and her most recent work is a book titled Material Ambitions: Self-Help and Victorian Literature.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, Third edition (ISBN 978-0-393-64402-9)
(Required) Bram Stoker, Dracula, Second edition (ISBN 978-0-393-67920-5)