Monsters in British Literature


The Oxford English

defines monster as “a mythical creature that is part animal and part human, or
combines elements of two or more animal forms, and is frequently of great size
and ferocious appearance.  Later, more generally: any imaginary creature
that is large, ugly, and frightening.  A person of repulsively unnatural
character, or exhibiting such extreme cruelty or wickedness as to appear
inhuman; a monstrous example of evil, a vice, etc.”  In this course, we still study literary and
artistic of figures of the monster–a central figure in much of British
literature from medieval through the late 20
th century literature.  Looking at monsters across a
thousand years of British literature will give us a chance to consider
depictions of monsters and how they change (or stay the same) in different
historical periods and genres, and how monsters provide insight into the fears
and challenges of humankind.  We will study literary terms and theory as
it relates to the text. This course is quite a lot of fun yet, academically


This course is designated
writing intensive.  As such, there will be quite a lot of writing in terms
of reading responses, responses to reading responses, drafts, essays and exams.
In addition to a class debate, there will be two formal presentations–one
group and a solo.


By the end of the
semester, as a reader and writer you will demonstrate the following abilities:

  1. Integration of complex ideas from academic and
    public writing with own experience and knowledge.
  2. Understanding of
    research as a complex and involved process.
  3. Proper use of
    sources ranging from the library to personal interviews, including documentation of such sources.
  4. Development of complex ideas
    in various genres appropriate for various audiences.
  5. Understanding of writing in a
    social context, as part of a larger academic or public discourse.
  6. Use of logic to
    analyze and effectively argue a position.
  7. Understanding writing as a process involving
    reflection, response from others, self-analysis, and revision.
  8. Proper control of such surface
    features as syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
  9. MLA formatting.


Required Texts:

Beowulf, Seamus Heaney, ed. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Marie Borroff, trans.

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson. Life and Loves of a She Devil, Fay Weldon. Coraline: The Graphic Novel, Neil Gaiman.  Books are available at Revolution Books, 2626 South King,
#201.  The number is 944-3106.  Pick up all assigned texts at the
same time.  You will need to be well into Beowulf by Friday 8/30/2013.
The following play, poems and short story will be available on
Laulima. The Tempest, William
“The  Lady’s Dressing
Room,” Jonathan Swift.

Reasons that Induced Dr. S. to write a Poem called The Lady’s Dressing Room,”
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.
“Easter 1916,” “Russian Revolution 1917,” “The Second Coming,”
 “The Demon and the Beast,” William Butler Yeats.
“The Bloody Chamber,” “The
Company of Wolves,” Angela Carter.


essays (with additional drafts)—two shorter and one research, a midterm and
final exam, quizzes (if needed), reading responses and three presentations.