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WRITING THE BODY

Writing the Body: Disability, Illness, & Alternative Physicality in Genre Fiction                            
A.J. Odasso, ajodasso@unm.edu

COURSE DESCRIPTION

In Early Modern works like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, as well as in contemporary works like Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed and Raphael Carter’s The Fortunate Fall, characters whose bodies and physical senses operate outside the perceived norm have played a critical role in the evolution of various popular prose genres.  This course will examine such characterization and narratives through the lenses of early and contemporary Anglophone Horror, Mystery, and SF/F/Spec fiction.

READINGS AND TEXTS

Frankenstein (Uncensored 1818 Edition), by Mary Shelley

The Fall of the House of Usher, by Edgar Allan Poe

Harrison Bergeron, by Kurt Vonnegut

The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin

Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis

Wild Seed, by Octavia Butler

 

FILMS AND OTHER COURSE MATERIALS

The Fall of the House of Usher full-length film adaptation (1960)

Harrison Bergeron short film adaptations (1995 & 2006)

The Westing Game full-length film adaptation (1997)

 

COURSE FEE (if applicable) & BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF HOW FEES WILL BE USED

None

 

STUDENT REQUIREMENTS

Group Work: Students must be prepared to periodically participate in small-group discussions.

Reading Response Questions: For each class session, students will be required to formulate at least one discussion question derived from the assigned readings that will further class discussion.

Essays: Students will be required to write two 7-10 page essays for this course.

Short Story: Students will be required to write one 2,000 – 5,000 word piece.

 

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

A.J. Odasso holds degrees from Wellesley College (B.A.), University of York (M.A.), and Boston University (M.F.A.), where she spent 2015-16 as a Teaching Fellow.  She's a poet (Lost Books and The Dishonesty of Dreams from Flipped Eye Publishing) and writer of short fiction; she also serves as Senior Poetry Editor at Strange Horizons magazine.  Her interests include creative writing, editing, Middle English alliterative verse, modern poetry, and SF/F/Speculative literature.