ENG239H1S - L0101

Fantasy & Horror


Monday 11 am - 1 pm, Wednesday 11 am - 12 pm

Instructor Information

 Dr. M. Johnstone

E-mail: m.johnstone@utoronto.ca

Course Description

This course will explore how works of fantasy and horror represent and challenge cultural and social norms by turning to the mysterious and the grotesque, the fantastic and the supernatural. We will consider the value and function of defamiliarization and escapism in how fantasy and horror confront the boundaries between real and unreal, mundane and magical, self and Other, familiar and strange. During the term, we will attempt to develop working definitions of fantasy and horror not just by identifying their key formal tropes, rhetorical conventions, and aesthetics, but also by investigating the philosophical and political perspective that informs their critical commentary on the human condition. To do so, we will explore topics such as the hero’s journey, secondary worlds, identity, transformation, and the monster/monstrous

Required Readings

  • Four novels to be determined; a selection of short stories from Vandermeer, eds., The Big Book of Modern Fantasy (Vintage 2020).

First Three Authors/Texts


Methods of Evaluation

  • Essay #1 (#%)
  • Essay #2 (#%)
  • Reading Quizzes (#%)
  • Test (#%)