The American South: Gothic and Beyond

Ref: C2423199

In this course, we will engage with literature—short stories, plays, and novels—from the American South in the 1940s and 50s. Bringing together elements from the European Gothic tradition with the unsettling landscape of the American South, writers from this period evoke a world both in transition (and decay) and stuck in time—crumbling mansions, abandoned churches, dusty towns, and urban wastelands. By looking at a range of authors—Eudora Welty, William Faulkner, Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, and Tennessee Williams—we will investigate the ways in which Southern literature of the time uses Gothic tropes (darkness, hauntedness, the unknown) to interrogate deeply embedded social and literary terrains, as well as to address issues faced by those oppressed and marginalised in the South at the time.

Course aim

This course aims to investigate the ways the American South figures, in its literature of the 1940s and '50s, as a place of social, political, and literary significance.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is for improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Make informed literary analyses based on tropes/themes of "the South" and "the Gothic"
  • An ability to make comparisons and analyses between a range of authors
  • An understanding of social and political themes/issues related to mid-century writing of the American South
  • A familiarity with the cross-sections between literary forms: plays, novels, and short stories

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

Please purchase copies of: - Intruder in the Dust, by William Faulkner - The Ballad of Sad Café: And Other Stories, by Carson McCullers - A Good Man Is Hard to Find, by Flannery O'Connor - Suddenly Last Summer, by Tennessee Williams

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

The American South: Gothic and Beyond

Enrolment Conditions

This course is funded by the Greater London Combined Authority but is also open to residents of other areas.

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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