University Honors 300)
Section 01
Summer 2004 [May 10 – June 18]
SLN 20792
MTWThF 10:30 – 11:20
Honors 141

Dr. Michael Delahoyde
Avery Hall 355 — Washington State University
Hours: TWTh 9:00-10:20, and by appointment.
Phone: 509-335-4832


Course Description:

This seminar will explore the dynamics of horror in various disciplines and cultures, ancient to contemporary, with special attention to monsters as cultural dark-side manifestations. What does a particular culture at a particular point in history label as “monstrous” and why? What makes a successful monster in Western culture? What exactly have certain authors and filmmakers captured (or unleashed)? Towards answering such questions, we will explore myths, literature, art, music, and film, with particular attention to the most successful monsters in our own culture: vampires, werewolves, the Frankenstein monster, mummies, etc. In the process, we will question the objectivity of paleontology, suggest original cures for lycanthropy, ruminate about Frankenberry cereal, and deduce what’s next.


A version of this class was last offered several years ago and this web site emerged from our collective work which you as students of the seminar are now inheriting. This site has proven to be extremely popular and I continue to be contacted at least weekly regarding some aspect of it by people of all ages in all walks of life worldwide. I have added many materials to the site but there is significant room for expansion and for filling in gaps (from simple plot summaries of horror films to the addition of whole analyses, filmographies, or commentaries on other monsters). Browse through the site and consider having some of your work this semester published in this public medium, or undertake a revision and expansion of an entire component of the site.

Course Objectives:

To gain exposure to and appreciation for deep-structure issues of culture and the manifestations of its value systems.

To hone critical thinking skills by examining patterns of thought captured in some of the major and minor artistic works which have shaped or which reflect our culture’s attitudes about what is evil and/or “monstrous.”

To increase intellectual maturation and clarification of our own values through examination of ideas and attitudes in literary, filmic, and cultural contexts and through articulation of these.

To develop skills in verbal analysis and detection of subtlety through reading, discussion, and writing about literature and other artistic media.

To contribute to our collective body of knowledge through participation and sharing individual areas of expertise and original ideas, towards an improvement in the state of scholarship in an area of popular culture currently dominated by mere enthusiasts.

Required Texts:

Heaney, Seamus, ed. Beowulf. NY: W.W. Norton & Co., 2000. ISBN 0-393-32097-9.

Otten, Charlotte F., ed. A Lycanthropy Reader. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1986. ISBN 0-8156-2384-4.

Ryan, Alan, ed. The Penguin Book of Vampire Stories. NY: Penguin Books, 1987. ISBN 0-14-012445-4.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. NY: Signet/NAL, 1965. ISBN 0-451-52336-9.

Stevenson, R.L. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. NY: Signet/Penguin, 1987. ISBN 0-451-52393-8.

[Stoker, Bram. Dracula. NY: Oxford University Press, 1983. ISBN 0-19-281598-9.]

Wells, H.G. The Island of Dr. Moreau. NY: Signet/Penguin, 1988. ISBN 0-451-52191-9.

Course Requirements:

Ongoing engagement in a discussion primarily involving members of our cult this semester will serve as the foundation of the course. The weekly seminar is merely the sacred ritual we have together; through e-mail and other less clandestine communications, this “project” should be unstoppable. So, voracious reading and obsessive commitment to discovery are required. You must re-animate the dead tissue of texts and other works with your own warped genius and realize, “They’re alive! Alive!!” In other words, class participation and other service to the learning community will be expected.(10%)

I will frequently ask for relatively minor homework assignments to be turned in or entered as part of our discussion on the Bridge. I may ask you to answer questions in writing in class, often ad lib responses to the reading before class discussion begins. These homework assignments and quizzes will receive numerical grades (points) and, although these writings cannot be made up, the final semester totals will be curved if necessary.(30%)

I will bleed two formal projects out of you ­­ one, a typed, double-spaced, medium-length literary analysis; the other a real “monster”: any one of the various options to be determined in consultation with me, involving an annotated bibliography for a particular monster, creation of a web site, etc. (30%)

There will be two exams ­­ a midterm and a thing which is not exactly a final ­­ for the HELL of it!(30%)

Former Monsters Syllabus Fall 2002 — Delahoyde

August 26 — Introductions, insane rantings, mad schemes.

August/September ? — [Make-Up Meeting.] Monsters in the Ancient World; Beowulf.

September 9 — Werewolves.

September 16 — Werewolves; Frankenstein.

September 23 — Frankenstein; Vampires.

September 30 — Dracula.

October 7 — Dracula and Vampires.

October 14 — Midterm Exam.

October 21 — Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Project Due.

October 28 — The Island of Dr. Moreau.

November 4 — Kong.

November ? — Make-Up Meeting?

November 18 — Mummies. Project Due.

December 2 — Dinosaurs.

December 9 — Last Words and Final Monsterama 2002.

Dr. Michael Delahoyde, Senior Instructor, Department of English
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This site last updated 24 March 2004.