General honors (GH) classes

Previously Offered general honors (GH) classes

General Honors (GH) courses are the heart of the University Honors Program curriculum and feature small class sizes, dedicated faculty members, interdisciplinary perspectives, active learning and an exciting array of topics. These classes can be accessed by searching under University Honors in the catalog. The following is an example of a General Honors (GH) course that has been offered in the past. This course may or may not be offered again.

GH301: The Gothic Psyche in Fiction and Film


The Gothic in literature and film is an aesthetics of nightmare. Unsurprisingly, three of the most prominent examples of the Gothic all began in scary dreams:  Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde—the works this Honors course will focus on, along with films such as Nosferatu, Altered States, and Young Frankenstein.  These works present their audiences with symbols of the dark, sexual, and destructive sides of the personality and plot cautionary tales about the dangers of neglecting the unconscious.  

We will investigate how in these Gothic works of horror the unconscious erupts and takes the archetypal form of monsters that embody psychic disintegrationa mad scientist’s murderous creature, molded from remnants of the dissecting room and the tomb; the Darwinian, ape-like double of a respected doctor; and the vampire who enters the souls of young women to claim their bodies and their blood.  We’ll also consider how these stories use terror to help us see the dangers lurking in the unconscious, and like compensatory dreams, can give readers and viewers a new outlook on life that embraces both the destructive and the creative potential stored within these archetypes.

After analyzing and discussing each novel, we will watch a cinematic adaptation and will investigate how the films extend and alter the ideas of the fiction.  There will be three main essays of five pages, as well as a final essay exam.  Some short response papers will also be assigned.


Instructor: Dr. Matthew Brennan