English R1B

Reading and Composition: Monsters in English Literature

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
6 Fall 2021 Gable, Nickolas
MWF 12-1 124 Wheeler

Book List

Beowulf; Kirkman, Robert: The Walking Dead Vol. 1; Matheson, Richard: I Am Legend; Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein; Stevenson, Robert Louis: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Wells, H.G.: The Time Machine

Other Readings and Media

Additional required and recommended readings will be made available online via bCourses, including shorter poems, selections from longer works, short stories, and secondary sources. Any films or TV episodes will be screened in class.


Undead hordes, bloodthirsty beasts, and uncanny human hybrids are nothing new to the human imagination; the literature and folklore of most (if not all) human cultures is full of tales that bring our imagined fears to life.

In this course, our readings will focus on depictions of many creatures in English literature that have been described as “monstrous,” beginning over one thousand years ago and reaching to the 21st Century. Our research will take us even further back, looking to the ancient mythology and folklore that inspired and influenced later depictions of monsters. Along the way, we will track how different monsters have evolved over time and space and how the definition of “monstrous” has been adapted for each age and place. We will confront that which is uncomfortable, strange, and humorous along the way, using our explorations to try to understand the human fascination with these monstrous creations.

Our main goal in this class is to become better readers, writers, and researchers. To do this, we will develop the skill of “close reading” to better understand and analyze our subject matter. We will “close read” all the media we encounter in this class—even visual media such as comics and films—by paying close attention to detail, which will help us to improve our own writing by making it as clear, concise, and evidence-driven as possible.

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