HNRS 270

Strangely Familiar: The Uncanny in Literature and Film

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing and permission of the instructor. Freud defines the "uncanny" as "the class of frightening which leads back to what is known of the old and long familiar." More than being merely scary, the uncanny is a blend of strangeness and familiarity that causes us to question what is natural and unnatural, what is real and unreal. The course will consider manifestations of the uncanny in films such as The Double Life of Veronique, Rebecca, and Blue Velvet, and texts such as Hoffman's "The Sandman," Poe's "Black Cat," and Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper." The course will also examine how the novel and cinema can themselves produce uncanny responses. Students will attend weekly screenings of films, give oral presentations, write critical essays, and create short films. May be counted as a 200-level elective for the majors of English and English and creative writing. V.2, V.6a