Essay 2 Prompts REVISED (HUM303)


I. The Golem: A Symptomatic Reading

Produce an interpretation of The Golem as a text which 1) is a symptom of its cultural-historical context and 2) operates within or alongside a gothic mode or register. In your essay be sure to use specific narratological concepts taken from Abbott which you are in command of and are perfectly suited to your project.

Consult the humanities database for journal articles and the catalog for books, including e-books which allow you to research in your pajamas at home. As a general rule of thumb for writing academic essays, there should be no source in your Works Cited page (note the plural form) with a .com in its information.

In the course of addressing the primary issues above, you may consider any of the following questions.

What makes Meyrink’s novel modernist? As what has been called a work of Expressionist fiction how might it relate to Expressionist film texts such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari? or the work of visual artists such as Hugo Steiner-Prag? Are there thematic or methodological parallels between the Gothic and Expressionism?

II.The Haunting of Hill House: Adaptation

There are two film versions of The Haunting of Hill House, both of which are titled The Haunting. Consider the differences between either/both of them and their source-text, Shirley Jackson’s novel. How does the act of adaptation change your reception of the story? It’s clear enough that reading a book and screening a film are very different activities, but both of them are also narrative experiences. Are there differences in elements of the narrative discourse such as plot, focalization, etc. which ultimately influence the story? What is added or subtracted in the process of adaptation?

III. The Haunting of Hill House: Intertext

Kristeva’s concept of the intertext, as described by Abbott, is fairly capacious. Intertextuality, he writes, signifies “a pre-existing cultural web of expressive forms” (101). [And please note the preceding sentence: it uses a correct in-text cite and blends the frame with the actual quote.] Every text thus floats in a sea of other texts, though the relationship between them need not be conscious or intentional. A text’s direct, purposeful reference to another text, allusion, can be seen as a kind of intertextuality, but those two terms are not identical. In The Haunting of Hill House there are obvious allusions, including Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. The novel also resonates within a network of other narratives by virtue of its story and narrative discourse. Explain which texts are most suited to a particular reading of THHH. Are there certain cruxes in the novel which are resolved (or complicated) in light of its intertextual debts? How does elaborating THHH‘s intertextual environment (habitat?) influence your reading of it?

IV. Open Topic: The Golem or The Haunting of Hill House or both.

This topic requires instructor approval. Submit a developed, grammatically flawless proposal for your paper to me via email. It is expected that your essay will use secondary materials from the course readings including The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative.

The paper is due Nov. 16 (hard copy in class, ecopy to ilearn). If you would like to discuss this deadline please email me.