English 40-3 - Spring, 2020

Introductory Topics in Literature

    Topic: Hauntings

Class Information

Instructor: Wallis, Christopher
CRN: 84057
Time: MWF 2:10-3:00
Location: 2016 Haring


    What does it mean to be haunted? In this course, we will explore this question and its implications through our analysis of texts across literary and extraliterary genres (drama, novel, lyric poetry, short story, creative nonfiction, film, and photography). In particular, we will focus on how a text's formal qualities can engage readers not only in a greater understanding of hauntings and their residual effects, but also in experiencing them directly. Whether through their representations of ghosts and ghostly beings caught between worlds, or in their depictions of speakers/characters wrestling with lingering losses, traumas, and memories, the (re)visitations we will encounter over the quarter serve as a constant reminder of how the past often returns to shape our relationships with the present and the future. Personal and collective, familial and cross-generational, historical and socio-psychological, these hauntings sometimes lead those involved to experience a debilitating stasis and alienation; in other cases, they can provide unexpected opportunities for development and belonging. Topics may include the history/histories of ghosts; ghost-cases; coping with loss; grief, depression, and melancholia; PTSD; psychoanalytic and historical approaches to trauma; and remainders/reminders of historical events such as American slavery, World War I, the HIV/AIDS crisis, September 11, and Hurricane Katrina.


    Short Paper
    Long Paper
    Final Exam


    Hamlet, William Shakespeare
    Beloved, Toni Morrison
    Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson