This course will examine the various ghosts of Scandinavian narratives and traditions, from draugar, who creep from burial mounds or restlessly roam the sea, to spirits bound to haunt inhabited dwellings. We will move from otherworldly encounters in excerpts from medieval sagas and poems, to instances of ghostly figures in preserved folklore. The second portion of the course will focus on the ghosts of modern literature, symbolic, gothic, or otherwise, in works of Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg, Karen Blixen, and Selma Lagerlöf. We will end with a look at trends in contemporary fiction involving ghosts as characters or narrators, including links between spirits of the departed and the genre of crime fiction.
Students will work on developing their critical reading and writing skills by analyzing central themes and questions. We will explore what is unique and universal in the Scandinavian ghost; the degree to which horror and the uncanny are combined with comfort, memory, and connections to family and the past in these figures; and the types of places and circumstances that are likely to give rise to ghosts or ghost stories.
Readings on bCourses
The Elements of Style, 4th Edition by William Strunk Jr & E B White. 978-0205309023
Due to the high demand for R&C courses we monitor attendance very carefully. Attendance is mandatory the first two weeks of classes, this includes all enrolled and wait listed students. If you do not attend all classes the first two weeks you may be dropped. If you are attempting to add into this class during weeks 1 and 2 and did not attend the first day, you will be expected to attend all class meetings thereafter and, if space permits, you may be enrolled from the wait list.