English 1102-H3: The Double: Duplicitous Discourse in Literary Fiction and Popular Film


The Double: Duplicitous Discourse in Literary Fiction and Popular Film. This course examines the figure of the double in literature and film, a figure that has haunted western culture for centuries, particularly through Gothic fiction and horror film. The double is usually a character that resembles a story’s protagonist and expresses the protagonist’s dark, taboo desires; the double is a reflection in a funhouse mirror that distorts in order to reveal hidden dimensions of the self. Beginning with a traditional pairing of E.T.A. Hoffman’s short story “The Sandman” with Sigmund Freud’s “The Uncanny,” an analysis of Hoffman’s story, we develop a range of theoretical perspectives that provide interpretive frameworks for understanding the double’s diverse representations. We also read stories by Edgar Allan Poe, James Hogg, Robert Louis Stevenson, and H.P. Lovecraft, considering them alongside films by Alfred Hitchcock, Roger Corman, John Carpenter, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Brian DePalma, and David Lynch. Using these works as a foundation, students craft analytical essays of varying lengths and collaborate on websites and videos that expose the range of historical and cultural approaches to doubling as well as their tortuous and torturous meanings.

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