English Literature

critically analyze The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and the œJack the Ripper chapter from Judith Walkowitz’s The City of Dreadful Delight and counect the these two texts to one other course text that we have already read “ œGoblin Market, Drcrcnla, œCarntilla, Mrs. lVaruen’s Profession, or Lady Audley’s Secret. You will need to focus on a specific Sensational element as a cultural anxiety “ sex, violence, crime, sexuality, cultural perversions, class-crossing, gender, duality, detective, monstrosity, etc. “ and consider how the texts, botlr literary and historic. engage with such a problematic. In considering that this is the last segment of the course of Victorian Sensationalism, you will need to explore and reflect upon the historical questions that accompany such critical and complex readiltgs and re-readings of sensational characters and texts, and how they relate to our cllrrent historical and cultural climate. Your essay will take a closer look at various historical er,ents. social. political, cultural, scientific, religious and/or rnedical/psychological discourses (as seen ir.r the various essays in the œCourse Reader) and examine how they are intbrmed by- and are reflected in “ sensational, gothic, and turn-of-the century (or fin de sidcle) literature, such as in tlre relationship betrveen the Jack the Ripper murders and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. .lelqtll and Mr. Hyde. This investigation will, hopefully, allow you to ask the larger questions of why we become so engage with the sensational. What is it about these texts that engage and horrify us so? What does it say about our voyeuristic fetishizations as detective, interloper, sadist (enjoying the horror and pain inflicted upon others), or masochist (enjoying our own horror and.shock)? What are we to make of our love and fascination of the horrific and grotesque? How can we. understand pleasure derived ffom others’ expense andlor pain? And finally, how does our interest in the sensational play out in our lives and current US culture? How have Victorian sensibilities and anxieties played out in our world today?

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