Chrysalises and Dreamshit: Exploring the New Weird
DozentIn: Rouven Brinkmann, M.A.
Zeiten: Di. 14:00 - 16:00 (wöchentlich)
Beschreibung: The "New Weird" constitutes a shift in the genre of "weird fiction", i.e. the genre of fiction popularized and typified by writers such as Howard Phillips Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith in the early 20th century, and marked by a sense of dread and unease as the supernatural or fantastical infringes upon the everyday. While the New Weird retains many of the elements that also define older forms of weird fiction, it is likewise informed by mid-to-late 20th-century New Wave and horror fiction, often engaging in formal experimentation and a possessing a distinct political tinge while being prone to representing a plethora of transgressive transformations and grotesqueries. As Jeff Vandermeer maintains in his New Weird anthology, "the simultaneous understanding of and rejection of Old Weird, hardwired to the stimuli of the New Wave and New Horror, gave many of the writers identified as New Weird the signs and symbols needed to both forge ahead into the unknown and create their own unique re-combinations of familiar elements" (x).
Even before the term "New Weird" was coined to describe this particular genre of fiction, and before many writers have voiced opposition to the term itself, a landmark text had been published that simultaneously encapsulated what defined the genre and managed to introduce its specificities to a broader audience: China Miéville's "Perdido Street Station" (2000). As Vandermeer states, the text has "just the right balance between pulp writing, visionary, surreal images, and literary influences to attract a wider audience - and serve as a lightning rod for what would become known as New Weird" (xii).
In this course, we will read Miéville's seminal work against the backdrop of the New Weird as a contemporary and contested literary genre. In this context, we will likewise trace the development of old and new weird fiction literary genres, consider questions of how such genres are formed and trans-formed, and what relevance generic classification has for the production, reception, and analysis of literary texts.
Miéville, China. "Perdido Street Station." ISBN 978-0330534239.
Other works of weird fiction, new weird fiction, horror fiction, and New Wave fiction will be made available via Stud.IP. Please note that at around 900 pages, "Perdido Street Station" is fairly long and you will need to have finished reading it soon after the start of the semester.
You will further be required to...
- participate actively and regularly,
- discuss and familiarize yourselves with the concept of literary genre in the context of literary studies,
- discuss and familiarize yourselves with the genre of the New Weird and its literary forebears,
- discuss and familiarize yourselves with "Perdido Street Station" and its relevance to the genre,
- hold short presentations and/or work in expert groups on relevant topics,
- write a term paper (4.000-5.000 words).