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Beasts and Beauties:
Monstrosity and Romance in Literature and Film

Sunday, August 22

  • First Tutorial meeting, 2:00.

We will introduce ourselves, go over some information for registration, and talk about discussion dynamics in college courses.

Wednesday, August 25

  • Registration begins at 1:30 at the Harris Center.

Thursday, August 26

First regular 8:00 Tutorial meeting. We will go over the content of the Tutorial, then discuss quotation practice and academic honesty.

Tuesday, August 31

Note: the written assignment for a given day will follow the readings in this space.

First, sketch out a four-year plan of courses that allows you to fill the requirements of a major you might be interested in and also allows you to study abroad if you are even considering doing that. Please note that you do not need to feel pressure to choose a major for quite a while yet; this exercise asks you to choose one as an exercise that will allow you to experience the process of building any major's requirements into your academic plan.

Then, write an essay of no more than two double-spaced pages on the topic, "My Academic Plan and the Liberal Arts Education." (You can change this to a more creative title if you want to, but stay on the given topic.) Bring a printed copy of your essay to class, where we will do a writing exercise based on what you have composed.

In the essay, quote the Grinnell catalog and at least one of the other two sources. Use at least one paraphrase, at least two snippet quotations, at least one quotation of a complete sentence, and at least one block quotation. Use MLA parenthetical citation in your essay where appropriate. Then make your third page a Works Cited list in MLA style. For MLA formatting guidelines, use this site and the Quotation section of Connections. (Follow the link and then page forward to read the section.)

Thursday, September 2

  • Introduction, "Cinderella, or The Glass Slipper," and "Blue Beard" from Beauty and the Beast and Other Classic French Fairy Tales

Group I Response: Many of you probably knew these stories as children, and most of you probably have not read them recently. (If that description does not match your experience, adjust your response accordingly.) Discuss what you see in fairy tales as grizzled young adults that you do not expect to find in fairy tales. What details jump out at you? How can you make sense of these two stories fitting in the same genre of the "fairy tale"?

We will talk about the processes of reading for and discussion in college classes as well as the fairy tales today.

Tuesday, September 7

  • Film: Rob Reiner, The Princess Bride (1987). Note: for most or all of the films we watch, I will arrange one group showing. Some of you will not be able to make it to that showing some of the time, or you may prefer to watch films another way. All the assigned films are on reserve in the Listening Room of Burling Library. See the linked page for its location and hours.

Group II Response: This film has an obvious main plot about "true love." Look to the side of that main plot to write your response about some element of the film that strikes you as interesting and unusual. State your specific unusual element first, then connect that element to other parts of the film that connect to it.

Everyone: construct a semester plan for yourself, using a calendar that will send you email reminders when key events are coming up. For example, Macintosh users can use the iCal program on their own computers, and others can use Outlook's calendar function or the free online Yahoo! Calendar program (which I use, for whatever it's worth). Be sure to include the following elements:

  • Regular class meetings
  • Regular practice, rehearsal, or meeting times
  • Concert, game, or meet times
  • Your professors' office hours
  • Paper due dates (with email reminders)
  • Exam dates and times (with email reminders)
After you get this framework set up, you can start to add unusual events such as paper conferences when they arise.

Bring to class a printout of your plan along with your own comments identifying the times of week and times of the semester that look particularly demanding. Also write down the approach you propose for coping with those times. I will collect a printout of your semester plan along with your comments in class.

Thursday, September 9th

  • In the Writing section of Connections, read the "Thesis" subsection, including my own materials and the pages linked under "Other Resources."

Mini-Response for everyone: on the discussion board, post a) a point from the thesis materials (by any of the six writers) you find especially helpful or interesting and b) a question you have or a point you would like to be clarified. We will be working on thesis development in class.

We will not have class this day because I will be away at a conference. Please do the assignment on time anyway, and we will combine the in-class discussion of thesis development with next week's scheduled in-class work.

Tuesday, September 14

Discussion of thesis-building and workshops delayed from Thursday.

Thursday, September 16

  • Angela Carter, "The Bloody Chamber," from The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories

Group III Response: Discuss one or more ways that Carter uses and alters the fairy tales you have read in order to help her story feel familiar but disconcertingly new.

Tuesday, September 21

  • "Beauty and the Beast" from Beauty and the Beast and Other Classic French Fairy Tales

  • Angela Carter, "The Courtship of Mr. Lyon" and "The Tiger's Bride" from The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories

Group I Response: Using any two of the three stories, find a short passage from each to create a specific comparison between your two chosen stories, and use the response to comment on the importance of the comparison you make.

Thursday, September 23

Workshop 1: papers from Ben and Liz, with respondents Ashley and David.

I will give you a handout to assist your reading of Frankenstein today.


Writers of papers for Workshop 1 can have an automatic extension until 2:00 Monday.

Tuesday, September 28

  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, pp. 45-115 (to the end of Volume I)

Group II Response: Discuss a theme or set of metaphors you see developing in this first part of the novel that you would like us to trace as the novel progresses. Be as specific as possible.

Thursday, September 30

  • Shelley, Frankenstein, pp. 115-174 (to the end of Volume II)

Group III Response: Using Group II's responses and the class discussion on Tuesday, continue the conversation by discussing how Volume II shifts the ground that Shelley established in Volume I.

Tuesday, October 5

  • Shelley, Frankenstein, pp. 175-244 (to the end)

Group I Response: Pick up any of the threads we have left dangling in the past week. In other words, write about the topic of your choice, but make clear how your thoughts arise from the discussions we've had so far.

Thursday, October 7

Library day!

Tuesday, October 12

Workshop 2: papers from Grant and Angela, with respondents Stevie and Kat.

Thursday, October 14

Workshop 3: papers from Stevie and James, with respondents Brianne and Sandy.


Writers of papers for Workshops 2 and 3 can have an automatic extension until 2:00 Monday. If those writers want to postpone their deadline until the Monday after break because of travel plans, they can talk to Prof. Simpson about that possibility.


Tuesday, October 26

  • Frances Ferguson, "The Gothicism of the Gothic Novel," in Solitude and the Sublime: Romanticism and the Aesthetics of Individuation (New York: Routledge, 1992), 97-113.

  • Ronald Paulson, "Gothic Fiction and the French Revolution," ELH 48.3 (Fall 1981), 532-54.

Meet for joint session with Professor Ferguson's Frankenstein Tutorial.

Thursday, October 28th

We will discuss critical approaches to film and do a writing exercise based on excerpts from your second papers.

Tuesday, November 2

  • Film: James Whale, Frankenstein (1931)

Group II Response: Comment on one specific way in which Whale revises the Frankenstein story as Shelley wrote it. Start with a single moment in the film and then comment on other connected details. This response will be presented in class as your oral presentation. Prepare your text accordingly.

Thursday, November 4

NO CLASS TODAY: I will be traveling to St. Louis.

Tuesday, November 9
  • Film: James Whale, Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Group III Response: As an early incarnation of the cinematic sequels we now know so well, Bride of Frankenstein necessarily works with the audience's expectations from Whale's Frankenstein as well as Shelley's novel and other adaptations. Discuss one or more ways in which Whale uses or plays with his earlier film in this one. This response will be presented in class as your oral presentation. Prepare your text accordingly.

Thursday, November 11

  • Film: Ridley Scott, Blade Runner (1982, Director's Cut)

Group I Response: Open response. This response will be presented in class as your oral presentation. Prepare your text accordingly.


Tuesday, November 16

We will do in-class work to prepare for the Winterson novel today.

Thursday, November 18

  • Jeanette Winterson, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, pp. 3-49.

Group II Response: Open response.

We will visit the library for part of class today.

Tuesday, November 23

  • Winterson, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, rest of book.

Group III Response: Open response.

We will again visit the library for part of class today.


Tuesday, November 30

Workshop 4: papers from Brianne, Chayapan, and Kat, with respondents Angela, James, and Jan.

Thursday, December 2

Workshop 5: papers from Jan, Sandy, and David, with respondents Chayapan, Liz, and Grant.


Writers of papers for Workshop 5 can have an automatic extension until 2:00 Monday, but they will need to be aware of the upcoming presentations as well.

Tuesday, December 7

Portfolio presentations in class.

Thursday, December 9

Portfolio presentations in class.

DECEMBER 15TH, 3:00 P.M.

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