Unit I) Mid-19th century Madness

Week 1 Urban Capitalism, Non-Conformity, and Obsession
T 2/12 Intro–
Th 2/14 Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street (1853) (eres)

Week 2 Monomania, Illusion, and Sexual Obsession
T 2/19 Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Wakefield” (1835), “Young Goodman Brown” (1835) “The Minister’s Black Veil” (1836) (eres)
Th 2/21 Edgar Allan Poe, “Berenice” (1835), “Ligeia” (1838) (eres)

Unit II) Domestic Discontents, Modernity, and Mental Illness
Week 3
T 2/26 Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892), “Why I wrote the Yellow Wallpaper” (1913)
S. Weir Mitchell. “Rest in the Treatment of Nervous Disease: Its Use and Abuse” (1875) (eres)

Th 2/28 250-500 words, written and recorded on a single object. We’ll listen to several of these in class. This should be an effort to lose yourself in the “obsessive” voice we hear in Poe or Gilman. It shouldn’t be a parody or mockery, but a sincere effort to narrate obsession. What were the challenges in writing or speaking in this voice? What are the obstacles to it? Were you able to work your mind into a state of observing or imagining previously unseen details and meanings? Was it easy for you? Are there any pleasures in this way of looking and thinking? What is the experience?

Week 4 The Demands of Domestic Life
T 3/5 Kate Chopin, The Awakening (1899)
Th 3/7  Henry James, The Turn of the Screw (1898)

Week 5 Darwinism and Degeneration
T 3/12 Frank Norris, Vandover and the Brute (written 1890s; published 1914). Read first half.
Th 3/14 Frank Norris, Vandover and the Brute. Read second half.
PODCAST: Groups 1 and 2

F 3/16 ********If you opt out of the Podcast/Group disussion: Paper #1 6 pages due by 4pm*****

Week 6 Remembering Slavery and Modernized Bartlebies
T 3/19 Charles Chesnutt, “Po’ Sandy”, “Dave’s Neckliss”, and “The Doll”
Th 3/21 Nathanael West, Miss Lonelyhearts (1938) PODCAST: Groups 3 and 4


Unit III) The Asylum: Moral Treatment, Medical Treatment and the Controversy of Institutionalization

Week 7

T 4/2 Moral Treatment and the Kirkbride Plan, 1820-1860
• From David Rothman, The Discovery of the Asylum, Chapter 5, “Insanity and the Social Order” and Chapter 6, “The New World of the Asylum” (eres)
“Life in the Asylum,” by a patient in the New York State Insane Asylum (1855)

Th 4/4 The Decline of Moral Treatment, 1850-1900
Nellie Bly, Ten Days in a Mad-House, 1887
PODCAST: Groups 5 & 6
• Adriana Brickle, from Life among the Insane, (eres)
• From Isaac Hunt, Astounding Disclosures! Three Years in a Madhouse (eres)

Week 8 The Counter-Culture and the Asylum
T 4/9 Ken Kesey, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962)
Th 4/11 Ken Kesey, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
• Scene Presentations from Milos Forman, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Week 9 Contemporary Nervousness?
T 4/16 Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted (1993)
Th 4/18 Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
• Scene Presentations from James Mangold, Girl, Interrupted (1999)

Unit IV) American Psychos—Criminals and Psychopaths

Week 10
T 4/23  Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs (1981) (first half)
Th 4/25 Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs (1981) (second half)

Week 11
T 4/30 Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs
• Scene Presentations from Jonathan Demme, The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Th 5/2 Brett Easton Ellis, American Psycho, (1991)–read first half

Week 12
T 5/7 Brett Easton Ellis, American Psycho–read second half
Th 5/9 Mary Harron, American Psycho (2000)
• Scene Presentations from Mary Harron, American Psycho (2000)