Joseph Campbell, famous anthropologist and mythologist, says in the Hero with a Thousand Faces (8) that “the unconscious sends all sorts of vapors, odd beings, terrors and deluding images up into the mind” and that these imaginings can be traced to a “feared adventure of the discovery of the self.” Such a journey holds the potential for confrontation with the dark side of existence, the abnormal, and with ourselves and what we may become. Another writer from our readings this term, has this to say about the supernatural: “The monster has always been with us. Misshapen, deformed, hideous, terrifying —the monster prowls and lurks, bent on doing us unprecedented damage … His place is the forest, the cave, the woodshed, the laboratory, the remote galaxy, the sky, the sea. He belongs where we fear to tread, in alien elements. But he is curiously fixated on us; he will not leave us alone. (McGinn, Ethics, Evil and Fiction, 144-5).

The goal of this course, then, with monstrosity as our thematic guide, is to teach you how to write better than you do now. To this end, we will think about writing and then write; we will talk about writing and then re-write; we will do research and then react to that research in writing; and we will share our writing with one another and revise that writing once again. In short, to become good writers you must read and write regularly and then revise. There are no shortcuts and no easy solutions.


Sample Syllabus