C LIT 357 A (1917)  LITERATURE AND FILM  Autumn 2000
From Frankenstein to A Chinese Ghost Story:
Phantoms and Monsters in Literature and Film



Here’s your chance to take fun seriously while getting credit for talking about Terminator and Face/Off !  We will discuss how such films and literary works can help us understand better how human imagination reflects on our society.  Never take anything for granted — not ghosts, not monsters, not what we say in class.  If you want to talk about any matter related to the course, please take advantage of my office hours.  I’m here for you.



Hours:  MW 2:30-4:20

Classroom:  SAV 249

5 credits



Instructor:   Yomi Braester
office: C-504 Padelford
office hours: MW 4:30-5:20 and by appointment
e-mail: yomi@u.washington.edu
course website: http://faculty.washington.edu/yomi/ghosts.html


message board


Course Description and Objectives


Grading Components

Policies and Procedures


Class Schedule




The course examines portrayals of supernatural beings in pre-modern and modern fiction as well as in Hollywood, Chinese and Hong Kong cinema. A cross-cultural examination of the texts will allow us to ask, Why are encounters with the supernatural portrayed as horrifying? Why does the supernatural pose a threat to individual and even cultural identity? What are the social and political implications of these texts?


We will discern the following themes and engage them: (1) reality and representation; (2) character development;  (3) entertainment and redemption; (4) gender; (5) the human body; (6) point-of-view and identity; (7) word and image; (8) place and culture; (9) narrative structure; (10) time and history; (11) graphic violence.



All students will prepare a one-paragraph critical memo before each class and write a 2–3 line micro-essay at the end of each class.  Both will be turned in at the end of class.  Assigned groups will be responsible for addressing their assigned theme and for one class presentation (close reading of a passage and initiating class discussion).  The presentation will be followed by a 2-page report from each member of the presenting group. Each student will also submit one or two additional 3-page reading reports, which must include a clear argument, substantiated by the text/film at hand (a reading response should be submitted within a week from the relevant reading).  Either the presentation or the reading report must be submitted before 10/25.  A quiz will be administered, testing details from both readings and class presentations.  A final 6-7 page paper must be approved on the basis of a paper proposal and submitted by December 11. 


Grading components

Critical memos       12 x  1 =  12
Micro-essays    20 x .5 = 10
Presentation:     5
Presentation report:   13
Reading report:   15
Quiz:  10

Final paper:

35 (or 50, if better than reading report)

Bonuses: second reading report



Policies and Procedures

No individual meetings or screenings will be arranged.  All pre-written assignments must be printed, double-spaced, font size 12, with numbered pages.  More guidelines will be provided on 11/20.  The course emphasizes good writing — if you feel unconfident about your writing, please contact the writing workshop.  Late submissions must be pre-approved by the instructor or they will not be accepted.  The course adheres to UW’s rules on plagiarism (see http://depts.washington.edu/grading/issue1/honesty.htm).  Students with disabilities are encouraged to inform me, and I’ll do my best to provide the relevant accommodations.



Books are available at the University Bookstore as well as on reserve at the relevant library.  Otherwise-unavailable sources are provided in the reading packet.



James Cameron, Terminator Two: Judgment Day

Rupert Julian, Phantom of the Opera 1929 (Odegaard Media Videorecord KINO 069; 2-hour reserve)

King Hu, Painted Face

Stanely Kwan, Rouge (Odegaard Media DVD MSVD 001; 2-hour reserve)

James Whale, Bride of Frankenstein (Odegaard Media DVD UNIV 003; 2-hour reserve)

John Woo, Face/Off



Ackbar Abbas, Hong Kong : Culture and the Politics of Disappearance (selections; in packet)

Michel Foucault, This is not a Pipe (Odegaard; Art ND673.M35 F6813 1983; 4-hour reserve)

Gaston Leroux, Phantom of the Opera (Odegaard PQ2623.E6 F213 1988; 1-day reserve)

Pu Songling, Strange Tales of Liaozhai (selections; in packet)

William Shakespeare, Hamlet (Odegaard PR2807.A2 B46 1988 and other numbers; 1-day reserve)

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus (Suzallo PR5397 .F7 1969 and other numbers)

Tang Xianzu, Peony Pavilion (Odegaard; EA PL2695.M8 E5 1980; on reserve)



Nina Auerbach, Our Vampires, Ourselves (Suzallo GA830.V3 A92)

Tsui Hark, A Chinese Ghost Story (Videorecord TAI 001; 2-hour reserve)

David J. Skal, The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror (Odegaard PN1995.9.H6 S57 1993; 3-day reserve)
Stephen Teo, Hong Kong Cinema: The Extra Dimensions (Odegaard PN1993.5.H6 T46 1997; 3-day reserve)
Yuan Mei, Censored by Confucius (East Asian PL2735.A5 T913 1996)
Tzvetan Todorov, The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre (Odegaard PN3435 .T613 1975)

Judith Zeitlin, Historian of the Strange : Pu Songling and the Chinese Classical Tale (East Asian PL2722.U2 Z98 1993)



Class Schedule (subject to change)


week 1

Monday, 9/25 Introduction
Wednesday, 9/27  Foucault, This is Not a Pipe
(read This is Not a Pipe; discussion by group #1)

week 2

Monday, 10/2     Shelley, Frankenstein
Wednesday, 10/4  Whale, The Bride of Frankenstein (screening)
(no reading; no memo; catch up!)

week 3

Monday, 10/9      Whale, The Bride of Frankenstein
start reading Phantom; discussion by group #3)
Wednesday, 10/11 Julian, Phantom of the Opera  (screening)
(read Phantom)

week 4

Monday, 10/16  Julian, Phantom of the Opera
finish reading Phantom; discussion by group #4)
Wednesday, 10/18  Cameron, Terminator II (screening)
(no reading; no memo)

week 5

Monday, 10/23     Cameron, Terminator II

(discussion by group #5; no extra reading)

Wednesday, 10/25 Shakespeare, Hamlet
(read Hamlet; discussion by group #6)

week 6

Monday, 10/30   Lecture: early Chinese horror film
(start reading Peony Pavilion; no memo; one reading response already due)
Wednesday, 11/1 

Tang Xianzu, The Peony Pavilion 

(read Peony Pavilion; discussion by group #7)

week 7

Monday, 11/6  Pu Songling, Strange Tales from the Liaozhai Studio #1
read selection #1 in packet; discussion by group #8)
Wednesday, 11/8  Wu Ma,  Picture of a Nymph (screening)

(no reading)

week 8

Monday, 11/13      Pu Songling, Strange Tales from the Liaozhai Studio #2     
(Discussion of final paper; read selection #2 in packet; discussion by group #9)
Wednesday, 11/15

King Hu, Painted Skin (screening)                 

(no reading; no memo)

week 9

Monday, 11/20  Kwan, Rouge (screening)  
(no reading; no memo; start preparing final paper)
Wednesday, 11/22


(no reading; no memo)

week 10

Monday, 11/27    Kwan, Rouge
(read Ackbar Abbas, “The New Hong Kong Cinema” in packet; discussion by group #10)
Wednesday, 11/29 John Woo, Face/Off (screening)

(paper proposal due; no reading; no memo)

week 11

Monday, 12/4      Woo, Face/Off
(quiz; discussion by group #11)
Wednesday, 12/6      Conclusion
 (no reading; no memo; all reading responses due)